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JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 
VOLUME TWO 

August 1949 — February 1953 






JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S 
SPEECHES 


VOLUME TWO 





PUBLICATIONS DIVISION 

MINISTRY OF INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING 
GOVERNMENT OF INDIA 


First Published [ January 1954 
Second Impression , June 1957 (Asadha 1879) 
Third Impression, October 1963 (Ashwin 1885) 
Fourth Impression, June 1967 (. Jyaistha 1889) 




PRINTED IN INDIA BY THE MANAGER, GOVERNMENT OF INDIA PRESS 
COIMBATORE, AND PUBLISHED BY THE DIRECTOR, PUBLICATIONS DIVISION 

DELHI-6 



PREFACE 


This is the second of a consecutive series of four volumes, 
and contains a selection of the more significant of the Prime 
Minister’s speeches and writings and covers the period 
between August 1949 and February 1953. In the first volume, 
the stress was on the gigantic movement that led to political 
freedom, on the sufferings and struggle that went with it and 
on the more immediate implications of its final achievement. 
Here, the emphasis shifts, so to speak, from the revolutionary 
aspect of India’s fight for freedom to the constructive, from 
a sense of achievement to a growing realization that the 
journey has hardly begun. This shift was inevitable, for 
Jawaharlal Nehru mirrors in himself the deepest urges of the 
Indian people and Asia’s renascence finds an echo in his 
voice. By the year 1949 a wounded but dynamic India had 
emerged from the chaos of Partition, determined to regain 
her nationhood. Hardly had she done so when a host of 
national and international problems arose which demanded 
solution against the background of a world gripped by fear 
and suspicion. “We live in a haunted age, surrounded by 
ghosts and apparitions, ideas, passions, hatred, violence, 
preparations for war...”, says Nehru, and he makes it 
abundantly clear that no solution that does not seek to solve 
the larger problem of world peace can endure. 

As the main architect of New India, Jawaharlal Nehru 
is deeply aware of the fact that freedom is not a triumph but 
an opportunity. He has no formula, no gospel; he does not 
hear voices nor does he consider himself to be the agent of 
India’s destiny. And, if he sometimes appears to be groping 
for a way, it is fitting indeed for the chief spokesman of the 
aspirations of a country groping for way. 

These pages reveal not only a statesman and patriot of 
rare quality and insight but also a man for whom life never 
loses its beauty and wonder. The two letters to India’s 
children disclose what is the most lovable, perhaps the basic 
quality of this unique personality. There is, however, no need 
to dwell on the personal factor, for the speeches included in 
this volume are extempore and speak for themselves. 



vi 


PREFACE 


Besides speeches, this collection also contains messages, 
broadcasts, articles and a foreword. All these have been 
grouped according to subject matter and the speeches in each 
section arranged chronologically. 

All the speeches were delivered in English, except ‘Two 
years of Independence’, ‘The New Role of Kliadi* and 'The 
Dignity of Labour’, which have been translated from the 
original Hindi. 



CONTENTS 


Paob 


INDIA BECOMES A REPUBLIC 

TWO YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE 
Translated from speech in Hindi delivered at the Red Fort, Delhi, 


August 15, 1949 1 

A HISTORIC DAY 7 

Message to the Nation, January 26, 1950 

REFUGEE AND OTHER PROBLEMS . . 8 

Speech in Parliament, New Delhi, November 15, 1950 

THE GENERAL ELECTIONS .. 11 

Speech broadcast from All India Radio, Delhi, November 22, i951 

LOOKING BACK . . 16 

Speech in Parliament, New Delhi, May 22, 1952 

LINGUISTIC STATES . . 33 

Speech in Parliament, New Delhi, July 7, 1952 

ECONOMIC PROBLEMS AND PLANNING 

THE MIDDLE WAY . . 44 

Address at the annual meeting of the Indian Chemical Manufacturers’ 
Association, New Delhi, December 26, 1950 

COMMUNITY PROJECTS .. 50 

Speech at the Community Projects Conference, New Delhi, May 7, 1952 

HOPEFUL PROSPECTS . . 57 

Broadcast from All India Radio, Delhi, June 14, 1952 

THE DIGNITY OF LABOUR . . 62 

Translated from speech in Hindi at the inauguration of the Harijan 
Convention, Wardha, November 1, 1952 

THE IMAGINATIVE APPROACH . . 65 

Speech at the Silver Jubilee celebrations of the Central Board of Irriga- 
tion and Power, New Delhi, November 17, 1952 

NO CHANGE IN FOOD POLICY . . 74 

Speech in Parliament, New Delhi, November 18, 1952 

ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY . . 80 

Speech in Parliament, New Delhi, December 15, 1952 

LAYING THE FOUNDATIONS . . 92 

Broadcast from All India Radio, Delhi, December 31, 1952 

THE NEW ROLE OF KHADI . . 96 


Translated from speech in' Hindi at the inauguration of the Khadi and 
Village Industries Board, New Delhi, February 2, 1953 



viii 


CONTENTS 


Page 

ON KASHMIR 

LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE . . 100 

Speech in the House of the People, New Delhi, August 7, 1952 

OUR PLEDGE TO KASHMIR . . 109 

Speech in the House of the People, New Delhi, August 7, 1952 

INDIA AND PAKISTAN 

WE CANNOT BE ENEMIES FOR EVER . . 124 

Reply to debate on the President’s Address in Parliament, New Delhi, 
February 3, 1950 

A PLEA FOR BALANCE . . 135 

Statement to the Press, New Delhi, February 10, 1950 

THE BENGAL ISSUE . . 136 

Statement in Parliament, New Delhi, February 23, 1950 

MEETING THE CRISIS . . 146 

Reply to debate on the budget demand for the Ministry of External 
Affairs in Parliament, New Delhi, March 17, 1950 

THE RIGHT APPROACH . . 150 

Speech in Parliament on the Motion : 

‘‘That the Bengal situation with reference to the Agreement between 
the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan signed on April 8, 1950, be 
taken into consideration”, New Delhi, August 7, 1950 

THE ATMOSPHERE OF SECURITY . . 162 

Reply to debate on the Bengal situation in Parliament, New Delhi, 

August 9, 1950 

NO- WAR DECLARATION . . 177 

Speech in Parliament, New Delhi, November 28, 1950 

INDIA IS OPPOSED TO WAR . . 181 

Reply to debate on the President’s Address in Parliament, New Delhi, 

August 11, 1951 

INDIA AND THE WORLD 

A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY . . 196 

Speech in the House of Representatives and the Senate, Washington D.C., 
October 13, 1949 

FRIENDLY CO-OPERATION . . 201 

Address to the East and West Association, the Foreign Policy Association, 
the India League of America and the Institute of Pacific Relations, 

New York, October 19, 1949 

ASIA IS RENASCENT . . 214 

Speech delivered in the Canadian Parliament, Ottawa, October 24, 1949 

OUR POLICY IS POSITIVE . . 220 

Speech while presenting the budget demand for the Ministry of External 
Affairs in Parliament, New Delhi, March 17, 1950 



CONTENTS 


IX 


Pagb 

A PROBLEM FOR THE UNITED NATIONS 237 

Message broadcast by the United Nations Radio network from Lake 
Success, New York, May 5, 1950 

FERMENT IN ASIA . . 238 

Speech at the eleventh session of the Institute of Pacific Relations, 
Lucknow, October 3, 1950 

PEACE OR WAR 246 

Speech initiating debate on Foreign Affairs in Parliament, New Delhi, 
December 6, 1950 

THE GROWTH OF VIOLENCE . 259 

Speech in reply to debate nn Foreign AfFairs in Parliament, New Delhi, 
December 7, 1950 

THE TEMPER OF PEACE . 273 

Broadcast from BBC, London, January 12, 1951 

A GREAT CHALLENGE 277 

Broadcast from All India Radio, Delhi, January 24, l c 51 

Wi WILL NOT COMPROMISE . . 282 

Speech during debate on Foreign Affairs in Parliament, New Delhi, 

March 28, 1951 

WE DECIDE FOR OURSELVES . . 296 

Reply to debate on the President's Address m Parliament, New Delhi, 
February 12, 1952 

THE LARGER SCHEME Or THINGS . . 305 

Speech in reply to debate on Foreign Affairs m Parliament, New Delhi, 

June 12, 1952 

DEFINING FOREIGN POLICY . . 320 

Speech during debate on the President's Address in Parliament, 

New Delhi, February 16, 1953 

THE PSYCHOSIS OF FEAR . . 330 

Speech m Parliament, New Delhi, February 18, 1953 

ON SCIENCE AND CULTURE 

WHAT IS CULTURE* . . 356 

Speech at the inauguration of the Indian Council for Cultural 
Relations, New Delhi, Apnl 9, 1950 

THE SPIRIT OF SCIENCE . . 362 


Speech at the opening ceremony of the Fuel Research Institute, 
Digwadih, Apnl 22, 1950 

SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH 

Inaugural address at the Indian Science Congress, Bangalore, January 2, 


THE CRISIS OF MAN 

Addrosat the UNESCO Indian National Commission, New Delhi, 
March 24, 1951 


368 



X 


CONTENTS 


Page 

ON MUSEUMS . . 375 

Speech at the Centenary celebration of the Madras Government Museum 
and the opening of the National Art Gallery, Madras, November 27, 1951 

THE CONCEPT OF MAN . . 379 

Address at the UNESCO symposium, New Delhi, December 20, 1951 

PAST AND PRESENT . . 386 

Speech at the inauguration of the National Art Treasures Fund, 

New Delhi, February 23, 1952 

THE WAY TO SPIRITUAL REVIVAL . . 390 

Message to the International Buddhist Cultural Conference, Sanchi, 
November 29, 1952 


TO THE UNIVERSITIES 

ENDS AND MEANS . . 391 

Address on the occasion of the conferment of the degree of Doctor of Laws 
at Columbia University, New York, October 17, 1949 

THE GANDHIAN TECHNIQUE . . 398 

Address at the University of Chicago, October 27, 1949 

THE AGE OF CRISIS . . 414 

Address at the University of California, October 31, 1949 

BASIC WISDOM .. 421 

Convocation Address at the University of Ceylon, Colombo, January 12, 

1950 

DYNAMIC LIFE . . 429 

Address at the University of Saugor, October 30, 1952 

TO CHILDREN 

THIS BEAUTIFUL WORLD OF OURS . . 435 

For the Children’s Number of Shankar's Weekly, New Delhi, 
December 3, 1949 

CHILDREN OF THE WORLD . . 438 


For the Children’s Number of Shankar's Weekly, New Delhi, 
December 26, 1950 

ON THE PRESS 

THE PRESS AND INDO-PAKISTAN DIFFERENCES . . 441 

Address at the joint session of the Pakistan and Indian Newspaper Editors’ 
Conference, New Delhi, May 4, 1950 

FREEDOM AND LICENCE . . 453 

Speech at the All-India Newspaper Editors’ Conference, New Delhi. 
December 3, 1950 

THE MODERN NEWSPAPER . . 462 

Speech at the All-India Newspaper Editors’ Conference, New Delhi. 
September 17, 1952 



CONTENTS 


xi 


Page 

CONCERNING THE CONSTITUTION 

COMPENSATION FOR COMPULSORY ACQUISITION OF 
PROPERTY 472 

Speech while moving an amendment to Article 24 of the Draft Constitution 
in the Constituent Assembly, New Delhi, September 10, 1949 

THE STATIC ELEMENT . . 479 

Speech in Parliament while moving that the Bill to amend the Constitution 
of India be referred to a Select Committee, New Delhi, May 16, 1951 

INDIVIDUAL AND SOCIAL FREEDOM . . 497 

Reply to debate in Parliament on the reference to a Select Committee of 
the Bill to amend the Constitution of India, New Delhi, May 18, 1951 

EQUALITY AND THE BACKWARD CLASSES .. 511 

Speech in Parliament while moving the Resolution “That tiie b ii to amend 
the Constitution of India, as reported by the Select Commit! “e. be taken 
into consideration”, New Delhi, May 29, 1951 


MISCELLANEOUS 

TO OUR SERVICES . . 532 

Broadcast from All India Radio, Delhi, December 7, 1949 

THE MODERN SYSTEM OF MEDICINE . . 536 

Inaugural address at the Health Ministers’ Conference, New Delhi, 

August 31, 1950 

THE BUILDER OF NEW INDIA . . 545 

Statement in Parliament, New Delhi, December 15, 1950 

A HALF CENTURY ENDS . . 547 

Broadcast from All India Radio, Delhi, December 31, 1950 

THE IMPORTANCE OF TOMORROW . . 552 

Speech in Parliament, New Delhi, March 14, 1951 

CO-OPERATION AMONG PEOPLE . . 562 

Speech at the twenty-fourth annual session of the Federation of Indian 
Chambers of Commerce and Industry, New Delhi, March 31, 1951 

A RADIANT FIGURE .. 571 


Foreword to D. G. Tendulkar’s Mahatma , Pahalgam, K ashmir , 
June 30, 1951 

THE TRIBAL FOLK 

Speech at the opening session of the Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled 
Areas Conference, New Delhi, June 7, 1952 

THE PREVENTIVE DETENTION BILL 
Speech in Parliament, New Delhi, August 2, 1952 


583 




INDIA BECOMES A REPUBLIC 


TWO YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE 

C ince I first unfurled the National Flag on the Red Fort, 
two years have been added to India’s long history which 
began thousands of years ago. During these two years, we 
have seen achievements and failures, we have experienced 
joy and sorrow. The good work we have done will remain 
even though we pass away. So will India, though generations 
come and go. 

Great questions face us and our task will not be over till 
we have answered them. Our objective is to make it possible 
for the millions of India to lead contented and purposeful 
lives. We cannot do that till we have solved, to a large extent, 
the problems that face us. 

On a day like this we should try to detach ourselves from 
the problems of the moment and see from a distance, as it 
were, what is happening in our country and in the world. It 
is right that we forget our little troubles for a while and think 
of the major currents that are flowing in our country. 

Thirty years ago there appeared on the Indian scene a 
mighty man of destiny who lighted our path. That light 
illumined our minds and hearts and large numbers of our 
people, forgetting their own troubles and domestic difficulties, 
their property and family, responded to his call. It was not 
for personal gain of any kind. Among these there existed a 
friendly competition as to who could serve the motherland 
better and more effectively. Our consuming obsession was the 
liberation of our country. 

The star of a free India beckoned us forward. We 
dreamed of freedom from poverty and distress. We gained 
our political freedom at last but the other freedom still 
remains for us to achieve. Before we could do much to achieve 

Translated fiom speech in Hindi delis cred at the Red Fort Delhi, August 15, 
1949 



2 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


it, new problems came in our way. Sixty lakhs of people 
migrated to India as refugees. We faced this problem as we 
had faced others. I suppose we made some mistakes but no 
one reviewing these two years will fail to appreciate our 
forward march in the face of all kinds of difficulties. 

Unarmed and peaceful, we faced a proud empire, not 
looking for aid to any other country and relying only on 
ourselves. We had faith in our leader, our country and in 
ourselves. This gave us the strength that sustained us during 
our struggle for independence. If we had faith and self- 
confidence when to outward seeming we were powerless, 
then surely we are much better off today when we are a free 
people with the strength of a great country behind us. Why 
then should our faith and our confidence in ourselves 
weaken? It is true that we have tremendous economic and 
other difficulties to face; it is also true that while we have 
rehabilitated lakhs of refugees, large numbers still remain to 
be helped and rehabilitated. But we have faced even bigger 
problems in the past. Why should we not face these in the 
same way also? We must not let our minds get entangled in 
petty questions and difficulties and forget the main issues. 

We belong to a great country, a country that is not only 
great physically but in things far more important. If we are 
to be worthy of our country, we must have big minds and 
big hearts, for small men cannot face big issues or accomplish 
big tasks. Let each one of us do his duty to his country and 
to his people and not dwell too much on the duty of others. 
Some people get into the habit of criticizing others without 
doing anything themselves. Nothing good can come out of that 
type of criticism. So, wherever you may be, whether you are 
in the Army or the Air Force or the Navy or in the civil 
employ of the Government, each one of you must do your 
duty efficiently and in a spirit of service to the nation. If 
the vast number of our countrymen apply themselves to their 
tasks in their innumerable capacities and co-operate with 
others, forgetting the petty things that divide them, we shall 
marvel at the speed with which India will progress. 

I want you to think for a moment of the days when we 
fought the battle of India’s freedom without ar ms and 



TWO YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE 


S 


without much by way of resources. We had a great leader 
who inspired us. We had other leaders, too, but it was the 
masses of this country who bore the brunt of the struggle. 
They had faith in their country and their leaders and they 
relied upon themselves. Today, we have more strength than 
we ever had. It is, therefore, surprising that some people 
should feel dejected, have no confidence in themselves and 
complain all the time. 

Let us get back the purposefulness, the enthusiasm, the 
self-confidence and the faith which moved us at the time 
of our struggle for freedom. Let us put aside our petty 
quarrels and factions and think only of the grea' objective 
before us. 

In our foreign policy, we have proclaimed that we shall 
join no power bloc and endeavour to co-opeiate and be 
friendly with all countries. Our position in the world 
ultimately depends on the unity and strength of the country, 
on how far we proceed in the solution of our economic and 
other problems and on how much we can raise the depressed 
masses of India. We may not be able to complete that task, 
for it is colossal. Even so, if we make some headway it will 
be easier for others to complete the task. 

A nation’s work never ends. Men may come and go, 
generations may pass but the life of a nation goes on. We 
must remember the basic fact that we can achieve little unless 
there is peace in the country, no matter what policy we 
pursue. There are some misguided people who indulge in 
violence and try to create disorder. I wonder how anybody 
with the least intelligence can think in terms of such 
anti-national activities. Bomb throwing, for instance, can do 
the country no good. On the contrary, it further aggravates 
our economic situation, which is a source of great anxiety to 
us. Therefore, it is the duty of everyone, no matter what his 
politics, to help in the maintenance of peace in the country. 

The people have every right to change laws and even to 
change governments and they can exercise that right in a 
peaceful and democratic manner. But those who choose the 
path of violence have no faith in democracy. If their way 
were to prevail, there would be complete chaos in the country 



4 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


and the condition of the people would deteriorate even more. 
All progress would cease and the next few generations would 
have to carry a heavy burden. 

I am still more distressed by those who, while condemning 
violence, join hands with those who indulge in violence. They 
think only in terms of winning an election and forget that the 
cause of the country and of the people is bigger than any 
party. If we forget India and her people while pursuing our 
smaller objectives, then we are indeed guilty of betraying our 
country. I wish to emphasize that all of us must understand 
that our most important objective is the safety and security 
of India and the prosperity and advancement of her people. 
That can only be achieved effectively if we stop quarrelling 
amongst ourselves and try to solve the great problems that 
confront us by democratic and peaceful methods. 

We must look at our problems in a proper perspective. 
If we are preoccupied with petty problems, we shall fail to 
solve the larger and more important ones. 

We must learn to depend on ourselves and not look to 
others for help every time we are in trouble. Certainly we 
want to make friends with the rest of the world. We also seek 
the goodwill and co-operation of all those who reside in this 
country, whatever their race or nationality. We welcome 
help and co-operation from every quarter but we must 
depend primarily on our own resources. We should not forget 
that those who lean too much on others tend to become 
weak and helpless themselves. A country’s freedom can be 
preserved only by her own strength and self-reliance. 

We are not hostile to any country and we do not want to 
meddle in other people’s affairs. Every nation should be 
free to choose the path it considers best. We do not wish to 
interfere with the freedom of other nations and we expect 
them to feel the same about our freedom. That is why we 
have decided not to join any of the power blocs in the world. 
We will remain aloof and try to be friendly to all. We intend 
to progress according to our own ideas. We have decided to 
follow this policy, not only because it is essentially a sound 
one from our country’s point of view but also because it 
seems to be the only way to serve the cause of world peace. 



TWO YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE 


5 


Another world war will spell ruin and we shall not escape 
the general disaster. We are determined to make every possible 
effort in the cause of peace. That explains our present foreign 
policy. 

Perhaps you know that I am shortly going to visit a 
country which is great and powerful. I propose to carry with 
mie a message of friendship and assurances of co-operation 
from our people. Keeping our own freedom intact, we wish 
to befriend other nations. Our friendship with one country 
should not be interpreted as hostility to another. 

Asia is passing through a great revolutionary phase and 
naturally India has also been affected. In other parts of 
Asia there is struggle and ferment. This morning’s newspaper 
contained the news of trouble and upheaval in a small 
but important country of Western Asia. We do not know 
all the facts and in any event I do not wish to express an 
opinion. All I want to say is that the prevalence of violence 
and violent methods weaken a country and undermine her 
progress. 

In Eastern Asia, a great and ancient country is experienc- 
ing revolutionary changes of tremendous significance. 
Whatever our individual reactions to these may be, our 
policy, namely, that we do not wish to interfere in any way 
with the internal affairs of other countries, is clear. Each 
country should have the freedom to go the way it chooses. 
It is for its people to decide their future. Any attempt at 
outside interference or compulsion must necessarily lead to 
evil results. No country can impose freedom on any other. 
That is a contradiction in terms. The world has a great deal 
of variety and it should be no one’s business to suppress this 
variety or to impose ways of thinking and acting on others. 
We should, therefore, survey world events in a spirit of 
understanding and friendship to all. 

Our Constituent Assembly is busy framing a new 
constitution for India and soon we shall adopt a republican 
form of government. However, laws and constitutions do not 
by themselves make a country great. It is the enthusiasm, 
energy and constant effort of a people that make it a great 
nation. Men of Law lay down constitutions but history is 

2—1 1 DPD/65 



6 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-195S 


really made by great minds, large hearts and stout arms; 
by the sweat, tears and toil of a people. 

Let us, therefore, learn to study our country's problems 
in the larger perspective of the world and let us not permit 
the minor questions of the day to overwhelm us. I have faith 
in India and her great destiny. A country must have military 
strength but armed power does not by itself constitute a 
country’s real strength. Her real strength lies in the capacity 
of her people for disciplined work. Only hard work can 
produce wealth for us and rid us of our poverty. Each one 
of us, man or woman, young or old, must, therefore toil and 
work. Rest is not for us. We did not win our freedom so that 
we might rest afterwards but in order to work harder to 
hold and strengthen that freedom. There is a great difference 
between the voluntary labour of a free man for an objective 
of his choice and the drudgery of a slave. Our labours as 
free men and women will lay the foundations for a great 
future and our labour of love for the cause of India and her 
people will endure; so will the fact that we are building, 
brick by brick, the great mansion of free India. There is joy 
in such work and even when we have departed that work will 
be there for future generations to see. 

One of our most important problems today is that of 
growing more food. We must avoid wasting food at all costs. 
We must conserve our present resources with great care. We 
have to tighten our belts. If the co-operation of the people is 
forthcoming, we shall solve not only this problem but many 
others. Our petty squabbles and party differences can wait. 
What is vital and important for us is to keep before us the 
picture of a great India. India is enduring and will continue 
to be there long after we are gone. 



A HISTORIC DAY 


17 vents crowd in upon us and because of their quick 
succession we are apt to miss their significance. Some of 
us give messages on every occasion exhorting people to great 
endeavour and even these messages become stale for 
repetition. 

Yet, undoubtedly, January 26, 1950, is a day of high 
significance for India and the Indian people. It does mean 
the consummation of one important phase of our national 
struggle. That journey is over, to give place to another and 
perhaps more arduous journey. A pledge is fulfilfi 1 and the 
fulfilment of every pledge gi\es satisfaction ant! stiength for 
future endeavour. 

There is a peculiar appropi iateness about l lis January 
26, for this day links up the past with the piesent and this 
present is seen to grow out of that past. Twenty years ago 
we took the first pledge of independence. During these 
twenty years we have known struggle anti conflict and failure 
and achievement. The man who led us through apparent 
failure to achievement is no more with us but the fruit of his 
labours is ours. What we do with this fruit depends upon 
many factors, the basic factors being those or. which Gandhiji 
laid stress throughout his career — high character, integrity 
of mind and purpose, a spirit of tolerance and co-operation 
and hard work. I can only suggest to our people that we 
should found our republican freedom on these basic charac- 
teristics and shed fear and hatred from our minds and think 
always of the betterment of the millions of oui people. 

We are fortunate to witness the emergence ol the 
Republic of India and our successors may well envy us this 
day; but fortune is a hostage which has to be zealously 
guarded by our own good work and which has a tendency 
to slip away if we slacken in our efforts or if we look in wrong 
directions. 


Message to the Nation, Januar\ 26, 1950 



REFUGEE AND OTHER PROBLEMS 


t t has been said repeatedly that various matters have not 

been mentioned in the President’s Address or have been 
inadequately mentioned. I submit, Sir, that the President’s 
Address is not a survey of all the problems of India, important 
or unimportant. The President’s Address, if I may say 
so, is not modelled on the Address of the President of the 
United States of America. It is meant to be a brief statement 
indicating the general relations of India with the world and 
the work we have before us. It cannot, therefore, in the very 
nature of things, take into consideration all the matters that 
have been raised, though they are, no doubt, important. 
Generally speaking, it is not a controversial document, except 
that Government policy itself may be called controversial 
by some people. It is a brief document and certainly not 
meant to be comprehensive. I would beg the House to 
remember that. It is a brief statement of the broad lines of 
the Government’s policy made, as far as possible, in a 
non-controversial spirit. Therefore, much of the criticism is 
somewhat wide of the mark, although the points raised may 
be important. 

One of the points that is certainly important was 
mentioned by the hon. Member who just spoke; it concerns 
Kashmir. Important as the Kashmir issue is, there is nothing 
that the President could have said about it. Enough has been 
said about it already and, as the House knows, the issue is 
at present before the Security Council of the United Nations. 
It is a little difficult for the President or for the Government 
to say much about it at this particular stage. I have said 
a good deal about it in this House and elsewhere on several 
occasions. When the occasion arises, I shall certainly come 
to this House and inform you of any new development that 
takes place. 

About the elections, may I assure the hon. Member and 
the House that in so far as this Government is concerned, we 
have taken every step that we can and we will take every 


Speech in Parliament, New Delhi, November 15, 1950 



REFUGEE AND OTHER PROBLEMS 


9 


step to ensure that the elections are absolutely free and fair 
and that every group and party has full and equal 
opportunity. We have impressed this upon the Election 
Commission and I believe the Election Commission itself 
has taken great care to see that it functions in that way and 
it shall continue to do so. 

•' I am perfectly prepared to agree with another hon. 
Member that the situation of the displaced persons is very 
far from satisfactory. He mentioned some cases of deplorable 
and sad happenings. It is no good denying them. But we 
have to view the situation as a whole and decide what we 
can do about it. Accepting the criticism of the hon Member, 
I would, nevertheless, submit two or three broau generali- 
zations for the consideration of this House. We 1 ave had to 
face a refugee problem of such magnitude tl.it I doubt 
whether any other country in the world has had to face 
anything similar. I submit — for the moment I am talking 
about the refugees from Western Pakistan — that compared 
with the way in which the refugee problem has been dealt 
with in other countries, our results have been creditable. I 
do not say that they are satisfactory; that is a different thing. 
I only say that they compare well. There have been refugee 
problems in the past and there are refugee problems even 
today in many countries of the world — Germany, Japan and 
many countries of Europe after the war. Refugees from the 
last war still continue to live in camps in many countries of 
Europe. That is the first point. 

The second point concerns East Pakistan, West Bengal 
and Assam. The situation is not at all satisfactory, I admit 
unreservedly. Nevertheless, I would submit to this House 
that it is rather extraordinary that large numbers of migrants 
are returning to their homes. No doubt, if they are provided 
with better conditions they will not return. No doubt, if you 
provide employment for the unemployed, they would choose 
to remain here. But the point is that large numbers of Hindus 
from East Pakistan and large numbers of Muslims from 
West Bengal and Assam left their homes through fear or 
apprehension or whatever it was. At that time nothing else 
counted but immediate fear. 1 can assure you that something 



10 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


has happened to make them go back. They have, on the 
whole, preferred going back to remaining here and the 
number of people who have gone back, both Hindus and 
Muslims, is really astonishing. Even in my most optimistic 
moments I did not expect this big flowback which has taken 
place during the last six weeks or so. That, of course, does 
not mean that conditions are wholly satisfactory and that 
they have no difficulty to contend with. Nevertheless, it does 
show that there is an improvement in their condition. The 
other information we have also tends to show that there is a 
definite improvement, whether it be in the number of 
dacoities or in the security of life. Much of what the hon. 
Member has said is true; I am not denying that. But these 
things have resulted from a large number of factors including 
certain basic and fundamental conflicts that exist between 
India and Pakistan. Not that it is so only here; it is so all over 
the country, which fact raises big issues into which I am not 
going at present. I do submit that the situation in East 
Pakistan and West Bengal is far better from the point of 
view of migrants and displaced persons than it was about six 
months ago. 

The hon. Member referred to the question of citizenship. 
There is no doubt, of course, that those displaced persons who 
have come to settle in India are bound to have their citizen- 
ship. If the law is inadequate in this respect, the law should 
be changed. The real difficulty arises in connection with the 
elections and the date to be fixed for holding them. Now, 
this House, I believe, once changed the date for the prepara- 
tion of electoral rolls at the last session with the result that 
almost all the work that had been done was largely, though 
not entirely, wasted. We had to start afresh and do everything 
again. If you go about changing these dates, it means 
enormous labour, enormous expense and fresh delays. Now 
it has been complained that by fixing a date for the prepara- 
tion of electoral rolls, lakhs of displaced people have been 
disfranchised. But I do not think the number the hon. 
Member gave is correct. The hon. Member said that fifty 
lakhs of people had been disfranchised. I do not agree that 
any such number has been affected, because in any case, a 



THE GENERAL ELECTIONS 


11 


very large portion of this fifty lakhs came before that date. 
Another difficulty arises at present. Quite a considerable 
number of people are going back daily. On an average, the 
surplus going back may be as much as 1,500 or 2,000 a day. 
The situation is, therefore, a fluid one. One is not quite sure 
as to who will go back and who will not. Therefore, it is a 
little difficult to lay down hard and fast rules at the present 
moment. Things may improve a little later. 

One thing more. A good deal has been said about the 
Government’s indifferent treatment of the Scheduled Castes 
and Scheduled Tribes. I do not think it would be quite 
correct to say that it is due to a lack of interest. But it is true 
to say that much that ought to be done has not been done 
and cannot be done because of lack of resources and other 
difficulties. We can appoint a commission if y< u like. It is 
easy enough to appoint a commission. But as the House 
knows, the appointment of a commission is sometimes only 
a way out of a difficulty, for it makes people think they are 
doing something when they really are not doing much. We 
do not deliberately want to delude the public when we know 
that we do not have the wherewithal to do much good. I 
may inform the House that, as far as the appointment of the 
Special Officer for the Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled 
Castes is concerned, the President has already decided upon 
this appointment and if it has not been announced yet it will 
be announced very soon. 


THE GENERAL ELECTIONS 

j am going to speak to you tonight about the General Elec* 
x tions. All of you know something about them and there is 
naturally a great deal of interest in the country on this subject. 
It is right that each one of you should take an interest in this 
democratic process which is taking place on a scale yet 
unknown to history. It is also important that you take interest 


Speech broadcast from All India Radio, Delhi, November 22, 1951 



12 JAYVAHARLAl. NEHRU'S SPEECHES 19-19-1953 

as citizens of the Republic of India, the future of which will, 
no doubt, be affected by these elections. Democracy is based 
on the active and intelligent interest of the people in their 
national affairs and in the elections that result in the 
formation of governments. 

Let us first have an idea of the extent to which the 
General Elections will affect the country. There are altogether 
2,293 constituencies in India. These include constituencies 
for Parliament, that is, for the House of the People and the 
Council of States and for the Legislative Assemblies and 
Councils in the States. Altogether 4,412 representatives will 
be chosen for these various Legislatures. 

The number of voters on our electoral rolls is about 
176,600,000. The number of polling booths will approxi- 
mately be 224,000. 

Each polling booth will have to be manned by a Presiding 
Officer, five clerks and four policemen. As elections will not 
take place all over India simultaneously, part of the staff 
required will do duty in more than one place. A rough 
estimate of the specialized staff required is: 

Presiding Officers ... ... 56,000 

Clerks ... ... 280,000 

Policemen ... ... 224,000 

To these will be added vast numbers of Government servants 
and voluntary workers. Indeed, the whole machinery 
of the State will be especially geared for the elections. 
The estimated cost of these elections, both for the Central 
Government and State Governments, is approximately 
Rs. 100,000,000. 

I have referred only to the official staff; but in addition 
there will be an election agent for every candidate as well as 
other agents and assistants. 

Thus, the number of people engaged in these elections, 
besides the voters, is very large. Indeed, the entire organiza- 
tion has been built on a colossal scale and is a test for all of 
us. The gigantic preparation for the actual business of polling 
has been preceded by a tremendous amount of human 
labour. To begin with, the electoral rolls had to be prepared. 
You can imagine ivhat a great quantity of paper must have 



THE GENERAL ELECTIONS 


IS 


been required for these rolls and the vast amount of printing 
which had to be done. 

Unfortunately, many of our voters are not literate and 
we have, therefore, to provide coloured boxes with emblems 
for different parties and candidates. This introduces a fresh 
burden which the Governments at the Centre and in the 
States have to shoulder. For the purpose, they have had to 
build up a huge staff which functions under the Central 
Election Commission. But no amount of governmental 
organization can make these elections a success unless the 
people themselves co-operate It is, therefore, of the utmost 
importance for our people that they understand all the 
processes which lead us to their vote and give us their 
intelligent co-operation. 

Many organized parties are running candida.es for these 
elections. It is also likely that there will be some independent 
candidates. Every party and every candidate must be given 
a fair and equal chance in these elections. The fact that one 
party happens to be in charge of government does not entitle 
it to any special privileges during the elections. Officers of 
the Government must function impartially. Strict instruc- 
tions have been issued to all of them by the Central and the 
State Governments, that they should carry out their duties 
with the strictest neutrality. The law has laid down penalties 
for any improper conduct on the part of a public servant. 
The Election Commission has also issued similar warnings 
on several occasions and suitable action will certainly be 
taken in regard to improper or illegal conduct. 

Candidates and their agents must remember their duties 
and obligations and make it a point to be well acquainted 
with the complicated law on the subject of elections. Any 
error or lapse may disqualify them. 

The Ministers of the Government, many of whom will 
themselves be standing as candidates for election, have a 
difficult task before them. They must not utilize their official 
position to further their own election prospects in any way. 
They must try to separate, as far as possible, their official 
duties from their electoral or private work. Detailed 
instructions to this effect have been issued. 



14 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


It should always be remembered that the National Flag 
must not be used or exploited for party purposes. Indeed, 
there are strict rules as to when the National Flag may be 
used officially. It must not be used for any election 
purpose. 

The whole object of democratic elections is to ascertain 
the views of the electorate on major problems and to enable 
the electorate to select their representatives. Parties place 
their programmes before the public and carry on intensive 
propaganda to convince the electorate of the virtues of each 
individual programme as well as of the demerits of other 
programmes. These conflicting approaches are supposed to 
educate and enlighten the electorate and enable it to choose 
rightly. 

For some reason, elections cause a great deal of excite- 
ment and sometimes even passion. Unfortunately, this 
excitement may also lead to improper behaviour and to a 
lowering of normal standards of democracy. We have to be 
on our guard against this. It is of the utmost importance that 
all of us, whatever the party to which we belong, should 
maintain a high level of propriety and decorous behaviour. 
Our propaganda by speech or in writing should not be 
personal but should deal with policies and programmes. It 
should on no account be allowed to degenerate into personal 
criticism and abuse. The standard we set up now will act as 
a precedent and govern future elections 

The elections have already begun and polling has taken 
place in some of the remote valleys of Himachal Pradesh. 
This had to be done now because in mid-winter the 
mountain passes are closed and travelling becomes very 
difficult. For the same reason, a few constituencies in the 
mountainous parts of Uttar Pradesh will poll next February. 
These are exceptional cases and polling will take place over 
the length and breadth of the country in January on the 
dates which have already been announced. 

I have given you a simple and rather bald account of 
these elections. I should like you, however, to try and realize 
the deep significance of this great adventure of the Indian 
people. Hundreds of millions of people in India will 



THE GENERAL ELECTIONS 


15 


determine the future of this country. They will put their 
voting papers in terms of thousands of ballot boxes indicating 
their choice and will or should do so peacefully. Out of these 
voting papers will emerge the Members of the Parliament 
of India and of the State Assemblies and we shall accept the 
result of this election without question. 

■' That is the essence of democracy. All of us naturally 
want the cause we represent to triumph and we strive for 
that end. In a democracy, we have to know how to win 
and also how to lose with grace. Those who win should not 
allow this to go to their heads, those who lose should not feel 
dejected. 

The manner of winning or losing is even more important 
than the result. It is better to lose in the right way than to 
win in the wrong way. Indeed, if success cones through 
misconceived effort or wiong means, then the value of that 
success itself is lost. 

There have been interminable arguments about ends 
and means in India. Do wrong means justify right ends? 
So far as we, in India, are concerned we decided long ago 
that no end, for which wrong means were employed, could 
be right. If we apply that principle to the elections, we must 
come to the conclusion that it is far better that the person 
with wrong ends in view be elected than that the persons 
whose aims are worthy should win through dubious methods. 
If dubious methods are employed, then the rightness of the 
aims becomes meaningless. 

I lay stress upon this because it is important and because 
there is a tendency, during election time, to disregard all 
standards of behaviour. I earnestly hope that every candidate 
along with his supporters will remember that to some extent 
he has the honour of India in his keeping and conduct 
himself accordingly. 

For the 4,412 seats to be filled, there are innumerable 
applicants. Out of these, a limited number will be chosen to 
contest the seats, so that there will be a large number of 
people who are not chosen as candidates or who, being 
chosen, do not succeed. I hope that those who fall out in the 
first or the second round will not take it too much to heart. 



16 JAWAHAR1 ,AL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1958 

There is a mistaken impression that one can serve India only 
if one goes to the legislatures. No doubt people can serve 
India in the legislatures but perhaps they can do so much 
better outside. Elections will come again and there is no 
point in getting too excited about them. Let us face them 
calmly and take them in our stride. 

I should like to add something I have often said before. 
We owe a special duty to our minority communities and to 
those who are backward economically or educationally and 
who form the largest part of the population of India. We are 
all clamouring for our rights and privileges. It is more 
important to remember our duties and responsibilities. 

Let us then face this great adventure of our General 
Elections with good heart and spirit and try to avoid ill-will 
even in regard to those who oppose us. Thus, we shall lay 
the firm foundations of the democratic structure of this great 
Republic. 


LOOKING BACK 

T have listened with care and earnestness to this four-day 
debate and have sometimes been astonished at the things 
that have been said. 1 am perhaps at a disadvantage compared 
with hon. Members on the opposition benches, because I 
must speak with restraint. I cannot be casual about other 
countries; I cannot either condemn or praise them in an 
unrestrained manner. Hon. Members will appreciate that 
the foreign policy of governments is not carried on in the 
same way as public meetings are carried on and that the 
phraseology which comes easily to some hon. Members on 
the other side of the House cannot be used when responsible 
people speak about other countries. 

First of all, I should like to remove, if I can, the strange 
misconception that exists about the President’s Address. 


Speech in the House of the People, New Delhi, May 22, 1952 



LOOKING BACK 


17 


Hon. Members have complained that many things were 
overlooked in the Address. Hundreds of amendments have 
been proposed or hinted at. It must be realized that the 
Address is not meant to be a catalogue of all the things that 
have to be done. It is a brief, concise statement, with occa- 
sional references to foreign policy or to the next session of 
Parliament. -This session, however, is a budget session and, 
as such, not much legislation can be undertaken, as is pointed 
out in the President’s Address. In any event, it is neither 
possible nor desirable that the President’s Address should 
contain long lists of the things we wish to do. Therefore, 
complaints about the summaiy nature of the Address betray 
certain misapprehensions about the situation. An hon. 
Member from Manipur spoke of the tribal people, in parti- 
cular about the Nagas. I attach the greatest ir. porta nee to 
the tribal people of India and I hope that this House will 
consider the matter more fully at the proper time, not only 
because of the large number of tribal folk in the country but 
also because they have a very special culture which should 
be protected and encouraged to advance along the lines of 
its own genius. I do not want the tribal culture of India to 
be overwhelmed or exploited just because the people to 
whom it belongs happen to be simple folk. 

Some hon. Members complained that nothing was said 
about the refugees in the Address. On a previous occasion, 
full particulars of the rehabilitation of refugees were given 
in the President’s Address. I do not see the point of repeated 
references unless hon. Members merely wish the President to 
go on saying that the Government wishes well by the refugees. 

I should like to say a few words about something Dr 
Mookerjee and perhaps one or two other Members opposite 
said. They asked the Government to co-operate with the 
Opposition in regard to the policies that are likely to be 
pursued. We would welcome co-operation from every 
Member of this House, whether he sits on this side of the 
House or on the opposite. It is possible that there are basic 
differences of opinion but I feel sure that there is a large 
field on which there can be co-operation. Where there, is 
difference of opinion, it is always a good thing to see and 



18 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


hear the other point of view before finalizing one’s own. 
Naturally, the Government has to make its own decisions; 
but in doing so, it certainly wishes to consult and have the 
views of the other Members of the House, whoever they 
might be. 

Having said that, I would like to add that it is not always 
an easy matter. Stress has been laid by some hon. Members 
on the fact that the majority party in this House represents 
about 45 per cent of the electorate. I take that figure to be 
correct because I have no means of judging it myself; but 
then, of course, the question arises as to what mathematical 
percentage hon. Members on the other side represent. It 
will interest the House to know that the Members of the 
Communist Party plus the People’s Democratic Front of 
Hyderabad, etc., represent 4.45 per cent. The Socialist Party 
represents 10.5 per cent, the K.M.P. Party 5.8 per cent and 
the Jan Sangh 3 per cent. The Scheduled Castes Federa- 
tion represents 2.3 per cent, the Independents 1.5 per cent 
and so on till the fractions become infinitesimal. The hon. 
Members who form the Opposition represent a great variety 
of opinion — I say so with all respect — and if colours were to 
represent if, there would be scarlet, all hues of red. pink, 
yellow and deep blue. If I describe the representation in the 
normal language of the West, we have in the Opposition 
every shade of opinion from extreme left to extreme right. 
These various opinions hold together under the stress of 
circumstances; often there are marriages of convenience, 
followed by rapid divorces. On the whole, these strange 
bedfellows consort together because they share the spirit of 
opposition to the majority group. I am not criticizing; I am 
merely pointing out the fact that where you have such a 
motley array, consultations are not easy to hold. But I do 
.wish to stress that we are desirous of co-operation wherever 
possible. We welcome the Members of the Opposition to 
this House because they undoubtedly represent a certain 
section of Indian opinion and also because vigorous opposi- 
tion does not allow of complacency. If I may strike a personal 
note, the faces of old comrades who now belong to the Oppo- 
sition bring back memories of the past to me. I do not wish 



LOOKING BACK 


19 


to forget them and I refuse to accept that there is no way of 
co-operating with those who gave us their co-operation in 
the past. It is in this spirit that I extend my hand to those on 
the opposite side of the House. 

It would be easy to address my friends in an argumenta- 
tive manner, to bandy words with them or to score debating 
.points over them; but the matters we are considering on 
this occasion have too grave an import for me to do 
so. 

An hon. Member told me that I had lost my place in 
history because of my attraction for mere tinsel. Well, what 
history does to me or to another individual is of little conse- 
quence. What happens to India and her millions is, however, 
a matter of the greatest consequence. Therefore, forgetting 
the personal aspect for the moment, I should lik • to direct 
your attention to certain basic facts of the situation. 

Perhaps, there will be great differences of opinion when 
we consider important things like the economic issues con- 
fronting our country, even though a great deal of agreement 
exists as to the ideals and objectives. We may have differences 
about the methods of achieving those objectives or the speed 
or the cost; but there is a certain vital method of approach 
which has obsessed my mind and which, I hope, other hon. 
Members will also consider. You may have principles and 
ideals but you cannot divorce them from the particular 
context in which you are working. The Communist Party 
in India has changed its policy many times in the last few 
years. It is quite free to do so. It is not for me to lay down 
their policy. I am merely pointing out that they changed 
their policy repeatedly, because they found themselves 
off the track, because they found themselves losing what 
they aimed to get and what they knew to be most important, 
that is, the confidence of the Indian people. They were 
compelled by circumstances to give up the very things for 
which they had been clamouring so loudly a few months 
before. It goes to show that one cannot pursue an ideal 
regardless of its context or consequences. If one does, one’s 
ideals get lost and other things which one believed to be 
safe also go with them. 



20 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


Recent history, particularly in Europe, shows how 
conflicts between various progressive forces resulted, not in 
the victor)’ of those forces but in the victory of the most naked 
form of fascism. People talk about revolution, perhaps believe 
in it and perhaps work out the consequences; but, because 
they do not adequately judge the circumstances, they act 
wrongly, thus opening the door to counter-revolution. In 
spite of active progressive movements, something completely 
reactionary holds the field in the country. It is not enough 
to strive for great objectives; it is equally important, if not 
more so, to achieve them through right methods. I suppose 
I shall be told that this is a platitude; but all the great truths 
of the world are ancient platitudes. And in any case, the 
well-worn cliches hon. Members of the Opposition often 
indulge in are no answer to ancient platitudes. 

Four and a half years ago, in August 1947, independence 
came to us suddenly and, so far as the British were concerned, 
peacefully. That was an advantage because a peaceful 
transfer such as we had made it easier for us to build than it 
would othenvise have been. I wonder how vividly Members 
remember that period. It is history now and the public 
memory is short. However, enormous upheavals, migrations 
and massacres followed. We had suddenly to face a situation 
in which the services — the army, the police, the telephone, 
the telegraph, the wireless and all means of transport — were 
dislocated. Then came the migrations of millions of unhappy 
people who had lost everything. I do not know of a single 
instance of this kind in history. Well, we had to face this and 
much more. Reactionary forces disapproved of the change- 
over from the British to the new nationalist Government and 
wanted to undermine the latter. Feudal, communal and 
other elements naturally did not want the new Government 
to work for social and economic change. To support the 
communal upheaval all kinds of counter-revolutionary 
movements started in northern India. Our friends from the 
South may not have any idea of all these because they were 
so far from the scene of action. The reactionary forces, how- 
ever, could not have triumphed because they did not have 
enough strength for that. For a period, the future of India 



LOOKING BACK 


21 


hung in the balance because these forces had a destructive 
strength which, if it had triumphed, would undoubtedly 
have spread all over India. We should have had a long 
period of anarchic violence for no purpose. India would have 
been disrupted and the States would have fought amongst 
themselves. In other words, we would have repeated that 
•period of our history in which the British power established 
itself in India. 

Fortunately, things did not come to such a pass. But it 
took us years to control this grave situation and to arrange 
for the rehabilitation of the refugees. 

At such a time, it would have been the dut\ of any 
government India might have had to try and re-establish law 
and order and to see that the unity and stability of the 
country were maintained. Our economic and social ideals 
had to be shelved, because they could not have flourished 
unless India was united and unless there was a measure of 
peace and stability in the country. It was because of such 
considerations that we thought it essential to lay the greatest 
stress on bringing conditions back to normal. 

We were still trying to establish order in the country 
when trouble started in Kashmir followed shortly afterwards 
by trouble in feudal Hyderabad. To be quite frank, no one 
knew in those years at what moment there might not be 
war with Pakistan. We lived on the verge of a crisis for a 
considerable period, not knowing when the Kashmir struggle 
might turn into war. We were also apprehensive lest 
Hyderabad should lead to war. We, on our part, were 
determined not to go to war with Pakistan but we did not 
know what the people or the Government of Pakistan would 
do. Naturally, we had to be prepared for all contingencies. 
In this hour of great national peril, which was certainly not 
a Congress Party matter, I regret to say that we did not get 
such co-operation from any of the groups and parties 
represented on the other side of the House. The communal 
parties aided and abetted these disruptive tendencies and 
our friends of the Communist Party tried to take advantage 
of a national difficulty by causing trouble all over the country, 
both in small ways and big. During the months when the 

3—11 DPD/65 



22 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-195S 


peril to the country was at its greatest, the communists let 
loose a violent movement in Telengana. Surely, the eloquent 
Members of the Opposition cannot have been ignorant of 
the background of die country at this time and yet they 
did things which might well have shattered India and made 
it go to pieces. That their sympathies were just and their 
cause noble is irrelevant, because the cause itself was bound 
to suffer and fail if they did not safeguard the interests of a 
united India. 

Hon. Members have spoken of the currents of history and 
of historical forces. By all means let us judge things in the 
context of history and historical forces. Let us beware of 
where the historical current is leading us; if that current itself 
goes over a precipice, it will be dashed into a thousand little 
streamlets and will no longer be a current. In those critical 
days, the first objective of every Indian should have been to 
see that India held together and remained united. 

I should have drawn parallels with other countries to 
bring my point home but I do not wish to make invidious 
comparisons or speak ill of any country. Of course, we as a 
government have also made mistakes; we could have done 
many things which we did not do and we should have avoided 
doing some things we did. I admit our failings; but I do 
submit to this House that this Government — I may even say, 
the Congress Party — has performed an essential historic 
function by holding India together and by laying down the 
basic foundations on which can be built the future social and 
economic structure of India. I would say that the Congress 
satisfies the same need in the country even to this day. The 
Congress Party has gained a large measure of sympathy from 
the public and continues to do so. The moment it ceases to per- 
form its duty or fails to change or prepare itself for new tasks, 
that moment the Congress will have become a spent force. To 
function effectively, a government must attune itself to the 
current of human events and history. If, on the other hand, it 
diverges from reality, then it will stagnate and cease to be. 

With respect to the Communist Party, I would like to 
repeat something I have often said before. I recognize the 
worth of many individuals in the Communist Party. They 



LOOKING BACK 


2S 


are brave people. However, I am compelled to add that they 
sometimes seem to be completely out of touch with the 
present-day world. A strange thing to say of a party which 
considers itself to be the vanguard of human progress! I 
admit that there is something about their theories which, to 
some extent, justifies their claim. There is something about 
' them which seems to recognize the direction in which, I 
think, the world will ultimately go; but they also have some- 
thing which makes them as rigid as the old religious bigots. 
So far as I am concerned, I have always refused to bow to the 
bigotry of any religion and I likewise refuse to bow to the 
bigotry of this new religion. 

In the present phase of human history, we stand on the 
verge. We may be led to grave disaster or to a new world and 
we must decide which of the two should have our support. 
Of course, I cannot lay down any rules of behaviour but it is 
obvious enough that the way of war is not the way we or any 
country, for that matter, should pursue; and war does not 
only mean actual warfare. What is nowadays called a ‘cold’ war 
is dangerous, not only because it leads to a shooting war but 
also because it coarsens and degrades humanity and because 
it threatens to surround us with hatred, anger and violence. 

I cannot offer any logical proof of this but I am absolutely 
convinced that the way of hatred, violence or anger is bound 
to lead us astray. And indeed, recent history affords examples 
of how disastrous a shooting war or a cold war can be. We 
may apportion the blame to this party or that and have our 
own private or public opinions but that will not help in the 
least. It passes my comprehension how any social or economic 
order can be established in a war-shattered country. It may, 
perhaps, take generations just to overcome the ravages of 
war and to restore the country to some semblance of order. 
Those who disapprove of communism and consider it an 
enemy cannot conceivably put an end to communism through 
war. What will happen after that war, I do not know, except 
that large-scale destruction and anarchy will seize the world. 

I do not think that it is right for us — either as individuals 
or as a nation — to follow a path which coarsens and degrades 
us and which leads to the international vulgarity we see all 



24 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-195S 


around. If hon. Members of the Opposition will forgive me, 
the methods they adopt in the national sphere coarsen and 
degrade them, even though their ultimate motives are 
worthy. I do not say that the methods of my colleagues are 
always worthy or refined but it makes a good deal of differ- 
ence whether coarse methods are adopted by a group 
deliberately or whether an individual slips into them 
through human weakness. Therefore, I wish to have no co- 
operation with violence or coarseness or vulgarity. I would 
appeal to hon. Members of the Opposition to feel that and 
act the same way. It is obvious that violence, vulgarity and 
coarseness degrade people; once you let them enter into 
you, it is not easy to get rid of them. India is a large country 
in which many forces are at work. Some tend to disrupt, 
others to consolidate. Today, it is a matter of the utmost 
consequence that the disruptive forces in India do not gain 
strength. If we indulge in violence even for a supposed good 
cause, I have not the shadow of a doubt that it will result 
in ultimate disruption. It may mean civil war, which, from 
the standpoint of vulgarity, coarseness and the spirit of 
violence, is worse than international war. It is because of 
this that the promotion of law and order becomes part of the 
normal business of a government. As I said, law and order 
are words I do not fancy very much but it is the bounden 
duty of any government, any group or any individual who 
thinks rightly, to prevent violence, to prevent the degradation 
or disintegration of our public life and the civil conflicts that 
it may bring about. We cannot have both civil conflict and 
economic progress at the same time. If we wait for economic 
progress till after we have resolved civil conflicts, we shall 
have to pay a terrible price for it. 

I admire the achievements of great countries like Russia 
and China. I do not, however, admire everything that has 
happened there. First of all, it is well to remember the colossal 
price that was paid in the Russian Revolution. How far we 
are prepared to pay that price, I do not know. With all 
respect to the leaders of the Russian people, I wonder 
whether they would not try other ways of achieving their 
ideals if they had another chance. I doubt that they would 



LOOKING BACK 


25 


choose violence again. However, that is a matter of opinion. 
We must also remember that it is now more than 35 years 
ago that their revolution began. It is not fair to compare 
the results of such a long period of intense effort with ours. 
Besides, the Russian people started with a fairly clean slate 
and with absolute power to do what they wanted to; even 
-so, -it has taken them a long time to achieve their aims. 

An hon. Member spoke of education. It is highly 
important, of course; and I deeply regret that we are not able 
to do what we should in the field of education. The Russian 
people and their leaders very rightly attached the greatest 
importance to compulsory education after the Revolution. 
And yet, in spite of their enthusiasm, it took them thirteen 
years to make compulsory education available to c . ery single 
individual in that great country. I know that i.. the early 
days the Russian Revolution went through >ears of civil war 
and other difficulties; hostile forces from outside had also to 
be dealt with. We are faced with similar difficulties. 

If we take to the sword, others will also do the same and 
nobody knows whose sword will be the longest in the end. 
Whatever the ultimate result of violence may be, we will lose 
enormously. Apart from the loss of time, which is really lack 
of progress, we will also pay in human misery and in human 
resources. 

China is a country for which I have the greatest admira- 
tion. There have been big changes there. The hon. Member 
Mr Hiren Mukerjee suggested that we emulate China. I will 
be glad to do so as far as I can but I would like to remind 
Mr Hiren Mukerjee that till only a year ago, China was 
looked upon as a country where corruption, black marketing 
and every kind of evil prevailed. Six months ago, the Govern- 
ment of China said that they were shocked and amazed at 
the amount of corruption in China. They started a great 
movement, in which the biggest people were involved; and 
effective steps were taken to end corruption. My point is that 
the situation in China today is not quite what it was a year 
ago. Perhaps, the People’s Government of China is more 
effective than we are; let us by all means try to emulate them 
in this respect. 



26 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1958 


After Independence we had gigantic tasks before us and 
we had constantly to face difficulties, turmoil and trouble. 
There were the post-war difficulties, difficulties followed the 
Partition and there were the difficulties due to constant 
tension with Pakistan. Apart from natural internal disasters, 
like earthquakes, floods and drought, of which there were so 
many, we had to face the Kashmir and Hyderabad issues. 
We should, of course, expect some natural disaster every 
year and provide for it but I must say we have been parti- 
cularly unfortunate in this respect. I have said before that 
the parties of the Opposition represented here were not very 
helpful during those years. Of course, they might well have 
differed with us in matters of high policy; instead, they 
hindered us in every little thing. Let us take the example of 
food procurement which is an essential thing. Many respected 
people have tried to prevent us from having food subsidies. 
Some of them even advocate a scorched earth policy so that 
the Government may be unable to get enough food for the 
people. It is easy to see that the object, far from co-operation, 
was to injure the Government. The way chosen to injure 
the Government was to injure the people of India. It is 
open to Opposition to go against the Government but it is 
dangerous, evil and cowardly to hit the very people whom 
you seek to serve in order simply to shake and weaken a 
government. 

During these last four or five years we have had to con- 
tend with a continuous barrage of propaganda, vituperation 
and condemnation. I would like to ask the hon. Members on 
the opposite side of the House whether the propaganda that 
was conducted against us was justified in truth. I believe we 
can stand comparison with any country so far as our achieve- 
ments in the last four or five years are concerned. When the 
great scheme of building the Dnepropetrovsk Dam was 
undertaken as part of the first Five Year Plan of the U.S.S.R. 

I remember that the whole country buzzed with it because 
the people knew that it was to be the foundation of many 
other and greater schemes. We, on the other hand, are 
condemned and criticized when we are attempting something 
bigger here. 



LOOKING BACK 


There are at least three major schemes, now in operation, 
that are much bigger than the one in Soviet Russia. I am 
merely stating a fact without making invidious comparisons. 
I am quite sure that progress, such as we have made, would 
have evoked praise from the hon. Members opposite if it 
had been in Russia or China. 

• May I point out that such an attitude is perverse and 
jaundiced and indicates a closed mind? I agree that, owing 
to the fact that our resources are limited, we in this country 
have had to concentrate on small schemes which will bring 
quick results; but if the country is to be industrialized major 
schemes will also be necessary. In fact, industrialization 
has been measured by the amount of electric power that a 
country can produce. I am sure that the hon. Members of 
the Opposition remembei that Lenin is believ. d to have 
described communism as Soviet Russia plus electricity. I am 
anxious to impress on the House that whatever has been done 
in India in these five years cannot be dismissed as insigni- 
ficant. Foreigners, even those from the gieat lands of Russia 
and China, have often been surprised at the measure of our 
achievements. Not that they necessarily agreed with our 
policy. Unfortunately their access to news about India is 
limited and those who do supply them with information 
about this country are full of their own ideas and only too 
readily condemn everything we have done. 

Surely, not everything that the Government has done in 
these four or five years was bad. If you condemn everything, 
your condemnation is not really worth anything. Your point 
of view can be valuable only if you look at the whole picture 
and give credit where it is due and blame where it is neces- 
sary. I should like hon. Members to go and see for themselves 
some of the great river valley schemes. We shall welcome 
them. I should like them to visit — here in Delhi if they like 
■—our great laboratories. Everybody who has seen them has 
been impressed by them. 

I can say with some confidence that there is hardly any 
other country in the world, perhaps including Russia also, 
which can claim to have laid the foundations of scientific 
progress as securely as we have in so short a period of time. 



28 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


It is true that Russia is £ar more advanced than we are but I 
am referring to the initial stages of development. The rate of 
development defiends on the momentum with which we start 
off. For instance, this enormous undertaking at Sindri for 
the manufacture of fertilizers, the telephone factory at 
Bangalore, the Chittaranjan Locomotive Works — all these 
are really worth-while achievements of which we can be 
justly proud. It is no good cavilling at these things. Let us 
cavil at other things, if we must. 

There are many among our countrymen who have been 
abroad — I am not referring only to the hon. Members 
opposite — whose chief function it has been to run India 
down while they have been away. This is not what most 
foreigners do. At home perhaps they quarrel among them- 
selves but when they go abroad they speak favourably about 
their own country rather than run it down. There are some 
who have spoken against our National Flag, our National 
Emblem, the Asoka Chakra, or our National Anthem. These 
are not party symbols; they are National symbols. If any 
group or party does not accept them, it offends against 
national values and traditions. 

At the beginning of the debate, one of the hon. Members 
from the other side of the House made what seems to me to 
be an astonishing statement; he described the President's 
Address as a declaration of war on the people of India. I 
suppose the phrase is parliamentary and he has every right 
to use it. If that is the way he feels, then there is a war on 
between him and us. 

I cannot imagine anything more fantastic; I challenge 
him to sit down with me and go through the President’s 
Address phrase by phrase, word by word and then to explain 
to me what he means by the statement. There was, I believe, 
another hon. Member who referred to the same Address as 
being callous. He had every right to say that the President’s 
Address was full of platitudes, if that was his judgment. But 
who are these people on whom this war has been declared? 
Surely, not the people of India. Even if it is only 45 per cent 
of them, we also represent the people of India here in this 
House. Our President was also elected by the people of 



LOOKING BACK 


29 


India. Do the hon. Members of the Opposition seriously 
claim to be the sole repositories of the people’s confidence? 
1 am amazed that they do and I do feel strongly that it was 
wrong of them to have used such language in describing the 
President’s Address. This warped outlook is by no means 
uncommon. In fact, we have come up against it in regard to 
.many other matters also. Look at the events of the last few 
weeks. My remarks do not apply only to the party which the 
hon. Members represent but to others, too. Time and again 
we had heard of walk-outs from the various Assemblies by 
certain sections of the House when the Governor or the 
Rajpramukh entered it. I consider such conduct extra- 
ordinary. One may like or dislike a particular Go\ ernor but 
he is the representative head of a State. When h«- enters the 
House, one normally pa)s one’s respects to him and this is 
not a personal matter. But there have been deliberate affronts 
to the heads of States. I cannot help thinking that this has 
become a habit with this party of walkers-out! I hope that 
people will give up these ways, for they are relics of the past. 

In India we have very grave problems to face. Unless this 
Government or any other for that matter can solve them, 
it is of no use. Let me put it differently. So long as this 
Government or the party which forms the Government acts 
as a liberating force in this country, it will function effectively. 
Once it becomes what hon. Members think it has become, it 
will have ceased to be a liberating force and become a restric- 
tive, repressive force. Then it will fade away in the process 
of history. The mere fact that we have returned to this House 
after one of the biggest elections in history shows that the 
people of India — a very large number of them at any rate 
— still think us capable of solving the country’s problems. 

There are a number of other matters to which I should 
like to refer briefly. Dr Mookerjee mentioned the subject of 
passports between India and Pakistan. We had convened a 
conference to discuss this matter but no agreement was 
arrived at. There is not much more I can say about this 
matter; but the House is aware that the Government of 
India does not favour the introduction of a passport system 
on the ground that it would restrict traffic between East 



SO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-195S 

Pakistan and India. In fact, the Agreement concluded 
between the Prime Ministers of the two countries two and a 
half years ago sought to limit the volume of this traffic at 
its normal level. If Pakistan, however, introduces some kind 
of a passport system on the other side, we will have to take 
similar measures to deal with the situation. It is true that the 
minorities in East Bengal have had a very raw deal and 
continue to have a raw deal. The sympathy of this House 
and that of a large number of people in this country is with 
them. We have tried to help them as much as we can and we 
shall continue to do so. There are, however, certain limits 
to what we can do. Two independent countries, in their 
mutual dealings, can bring pressure to bear on each other 
through diplomatic means. There are also other means of 
doing so but we do not wish to have recourse to them for they 
can only bring misery. 

I now wish to say a few words on the question of linguistic 
provinces although we have explained our attitude to this 
problem repeatedly. Quite frankly I feel that the formation 
of linguistic provinces is desirable from certain points of 
view. Our views on the subject are, however, immaterial. 
For, if the people want them, they will have them and we 
shall not stand in their way. For some years now, our fore- 
most efforts have been directed to the consolidation of India. 
Personally, I would look upon anything that did not help 
this process of consolidation as undesirable. Even though the 
formation of linguistic provinces may be advisable, in some 
cases, this would obviously be the wrong time for it. When 
the right time comes, let us have them by all means. Further, 
we have laid down the rule that there should be a large 
measure of agreement between the States affected by this 
measure, before linguistic provinces can be formed. The 
redistribution of boundaries which becomes necessary in 
such cases inevitably involves the interest of rival groups and 
States. Besides, financial and other considerations also arise 
and it is found that the redistribution cannot be effected 
without retarding the economic progress of the region con- 
cerned and even that of the country at large. We have some- 
times been asked to impose our decision upon one or all of 



LOOKING BACK 


31 


the parties and achieve something at the point of the bayonet. 
I think this attitude is completely wrong. If a large measure 
of agreement can be secured, we can form such provinces, 
although we would like this to be done without any untoward 
consequences. 

I attach the greatest importance to the subject of the 
tribal people which I shall deal with next. In Assam and 
elsewhere they have suffered greatly by the Partition. The 
legacies left by the latter are still with us and many, who 
were deprived of their means of livelihood at the time of 
Partition, are still without employment. This happened 
because they were cut off from neighbouring areas and this 
state of affairs cannot be remedied unless these regions are 
adequately connected with the rest of the country; but to 
build roads on mountainous tracks is very expensi 'e. We have 
already built a number of such roads and we are building 
more. In about a fortnight from now, a conference will be held 
to consider matters relating to the welfare of the tribal people. 

The hon. Member from Manipur has raised the question 
of compensation for the damage caused by the war in his 
constituency. I do not know the details. It should normally 
be the duty of the British Government to pay compensation 
for this damage. We have, however, undertaken to discharge 
this liability to some extent in this area and, I believe, we 
have already paid between Rs. 25 and 30 lakhs as compen- 
sation. Obviously, I cannot, without looking into the matter 
closely, assure you that the payment of compensation has 
been made fairly. A few Claims Officers have been appointed 
and the payments are being made in consultation with the 
local bodies. The process is still going on and claims are still 
being considered. 

The hon. Member from Travancore referred to our 
policy in regard to the production and export of monazite. 
Until recently, large quantities of monazite used to be sold 
almost for a song. It suddenly became a highly strategic and, 
therefore, valuable mineral. For a variety of reasons, we have 
stopped its export, although some of it still continues to be 
exported under licence. The material is not quite as expensive 
as the hon. Member thought; he said it cost £250 per ton. 



32 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


The price in America, at present, is half that figure. We 
have, as a matter of fact, built a factory at Alwaye to separate 
monazite from ilmenite and other rare earths. I have no 
doubt that this factory will be of great advantage to the 
State of Travancore and India. We decided sometime ago 
that no material used in the manufacture of atomic bombs 
should be exported from India. But we do not wish to forbid 
the export of monazite where it is put to other uses. We 
determine the volume of exports in terms of the foreign 
exchange we can earn from them. 

Much has been said about Kashmir. Dr Mookerjee 
raised a question about Kashmir’s constitutional status and 
he wanted to know if Kashmiris were Indians. Of course, 
they are Indians, constitutionally and legally. If they want to 
go abroad, they must have an Indian passport. When the 
question of the merger of the States was first considered, four 
or five years ago, almost all the States acceded in three 
subjects only — foreign affairs, defence and communications. 
A little later, when there was a raid on Kashmir, it also 
acceded in respect of three subjects. There were further 
developments in the other States and they acceded in some 
additional subjects. During this period, we have had a con- 
flict with Pakistan in regard to Kashmir because of the raids 
and the war. The matter has been referred to the United 
Nations. Therefore, it is not desired that any more changes 
should take place in the status of Kashmir in relation to India 
during this period of turmoil. Kashmir has acceded in the 
basic subjects and is a part of India. So far as other subjects are 
concerned, obviously the people of Kashmir have or rather 
their Constituent Assembly has every right to pass any laws it 
chooses. This is the constitutional position and it is quite 
clear as far as I can see. At the moment, matters, such as the 
financial integration of Kashmir with India, are under dis- 
cussion and I have no doubt that they will gradually be 
solved. The fact that such questions have always to be viewed 
in their international background creates great difficulties. 

Finally, I would like to speak to you about the rehabili- 
tation of refugees. We are deeply conscious that a large 
number of refugees, especially those coming from East 



LINGUISTIC STATES 


ss 


Bengal, require to be rehabilitated; but, taking the problem 
as a whole, I do not think I am exaggerating when I say that 
our achievements in the field of rehabilitation have been 
remarkable. Of course, ours is not the only country that has 
had to undertake large-scale rehabilitation of refugees. The 
United Nations have spent considerable sums of money for 
a similar purpose all over the world. Other countries have 
faced the same problems but the rehabilitation experts from 
abroad have invariably expressed, in no uncertain manner, 
their admiration for our achievements. I should like the 
House to remember that we have accomplished the task of 
rehabilitation without the least financial or other help from 
abroad or from the United Nations. The whole burden has 
been ours and we have borne it well. I must say that we 
could not have succeeded if large numbers of me displaced 
persons themselves had not co-operated with us in this task, 
played their part and done their share of the work. They 
showed amazing enterprise and courage in building them- 
selves up anew. The great tragedy of the migrations turned 
into a sign of hope for us, for it showed us that ultimately 
our people can face tragedy and overcome it. 


LINGUISTIC STATES 

J entirely agree with Dr Lanka Sundaram who said right 
at the beginning that we should keep away from passion and 
prejudice. Dr Mookerjee said that the question of linguistic 
States should not be considered a party matter. I agree to 
some extent but I sometimes feel that perhaps it would have 
been better if it were a party matter. I shall explain myself. 
It is not that I want things to become party matters but a 
party matter, at any rate, does cut across provincial feelings. 
It may be good or bad but a party would not consider any 
question on a provincial basis. Well, this pai ticular question 


Speech in the House of the People, New Delhi, July 7, 1952 



34 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


is, in the very nature of things, a provincial one. When there 
is division or friction between representatives of different 
provinces, I think it is much worse than any party divisions. 

An hon. Member — one of the noted poets we have in 
this House — referred to the old British policy of divide and 
rule. He seemed to hint that in the matter of linguistic 
provinces, the policy of the present Government is a 
continuation of that policy. Whatever one’s views on this 
question may be, I must confess that I fail to understand how 
our policy can be construed as one of divide and rule. 

Repeated references have been made to the policy the 
Congress adopted for a number of years. An hon. Member 
said that I used to go around shouting about linguistic 
provinces from the house tops and at street corners. I am 
not aware of having done so at all. In fact, I have never been 
very enthusiastic about linguistic provinces. My views on 
our provinces are peculiar. Coming, as I do, from the biggest 
of India’s provinces, I feel that provinces in this country 
should be much smaller than they are. It is not necessary to 
have the whole paraphernalia of a Governor, a High Court 
and so on for every' province. But mine was a lone voice 
even when the Constituent Assembly was considering this 
matter. We were so used to existing conditions that we were 
satisfied to let things continue as they were. 

Everybody knows that about thirty years ago the 
Congress stood for linguistic provinces. Seven years ago, the 
Congress, in its election manifesto of 1 945-1946, said: "It 
(the Congress) has also stood for the freedom of each group 
and territorial area within the nation to develop its own life 
and culture within the larger framework and it is stated 
that for this purpose such territorial areas or provinces should 
be constituted, as far as possible, on a linguistic and cultural 
basis.’’ 

The latest position is embodied in the election manifesto 
of the last General Election drawn up at Bangalore. I shall, 
if I may, read that out: “The demand for a redistribution 
of provinces on a linguistic basis has been persistently made 
in the South and West of India. The Congress expressed itself 
in favour of linguistic provinces many years ago. A decision 



LINGUISTIC STATES 


ss 


Iff??®/* 

on this question ultimately depends upon the wishes of the 
people concerned. While linguistic reasons have undoubtedly 
a certain cultural and other importance, there are other 
factors also, such as economic, administrative and financial, 
which have to be taken into consideration. Where such a 
demand represents the agreed views of the people concerned, 
the necessary steps prescribed by the Constitution, including 
the appointment of a Boundary Commission, should be 
taken.” 

That more or less represents the policy and the position 
of Government in this matter. 

In regard to the Andhra province, for instance, hon. 
Members have suggested a plebiscite. I entirely agree that 
95 to 97 per cent of the people concerned would .ote for it. 
But that does not solve my difficulties. I am al* in favour 
of the Andhra province. But what will happen if you take 
the votes of the Andhras and the Tamili ans and others in a 
contioversial place like Madras city? Then you won’t get 
90 per cent this way or that. It is quite obvious that the 
Andhras will vote en bloc for the Andhra province on 
principle; and rightly so. Similarly, if you take the votes of 
large numbers of our friends on the Karnataka question 
they will vote for the Karnataka province. I have no doubt 
about that. That goes for the Maharashtrians too. If they 
did not or if it was expected that they would not vote in this 
manner, the question of our discussion would not arise. So, 
we proceed on the assumption that considerable numbers of 
people in certain areas desire linguistic provinces. That is 
perhaps too limited a phrase. What they really want is a 
province where their language, more or less, prevails. 

Speaking for myself, I have been overburdened with the 
thought that we must give the topmost priority to the 
development of a sense of unity in India because these are 
critical days. Any decision that might come in the way of that 
unity should be delayed till we have laid a strong foundation 
for it. Because of that, I for my own part have frankly — and 
I should be quite frank with this House — not taken any 
aggressive or positive step in regard to the formation of 
linguistic provinces. Although I agreed with the demand, I 



38 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


left it at that in many cases. If there is general consent, well 
and good. We will form an Andhra province and are pre- 
pared to do so. Towards the end of 1949 we had practically 
decided to have an Andhra province, because most matters 
had been settled by the Tamil people, the Andhras and others 
concerned. I think a specially formed Committee and the 
Local Government had worked together for the settlement 
of these matters. However, we suddenly found that two or 
three very vital matters were not settled. We as a government 
were perfectly agreeable to a separate Andhra State. But 
nothing could be done about it as conflicts arose at the last 
moment. So, for the last two and a half years or so we have 
been on the verge of finalizing matters but something or the 
other kept happening, outside our competence to delay it. I 
have no doubt at all in my mind — taking an individual case 
like the Andhra province — that there is a great deal of justi- 
fication for it. It is bound to come and I am sure that the 
Andhras want it. And that really is the final justification for it. 

But when we get into difficulties about the city of Madras 
or Rayalaseema — and I am not mentioning this just to create 
difficulties — what are we to do? We can only follow one of 
the two courses. The first is to create a better atmosphere and 
try to encourage a settlement by consent. The other is to 
come down with a heavy hand and overrule this party or that 
and lay down our own terms. The second can be done. 
Governments have done it. But hon. Members will, no doubt, 
realize that in a matter of this kind strong feelings are roused. 
If we were to make a new province by some coercive method, 
we would be leaving behind a trail of intense bitterness 
between the two provinces that used to be one and were 
forcibly divided. It would not be good for either of them to 
start with an inheritance of ill-will and bitterness against 
their neighbours just when they are starting from scratch 
and have to settle down to build themselves anew. There- 
fore, it is infinitely better, even though it takes a little more 
time, to form linguistic provinces only when the goodwill 
and consent of all concerned are forthcoming. 

That was our general approach. And I submit that it is 
the right approach, because it will ultimately save more 



LINGUISTIC STATES 


37 


time than trying to rush things in a manner which might 
entangle us in long arguments for years. After all, even the 
simplest of partitions brings with it problems and all kinds of 
difficulties, administrative, financial and other. The separa- 
tion of Burma was, of course, very different. It was complete 
in every way and had our goodwill. There was no conflict in 
it. Still, it took ten years or so to work itself out and the 
process is not quite complete even today. The other terrible 
partitions in this country have undoubtedly made many of 
us hesitant about changing the map of India. I admit that it 
is necessary in some cases and, where it is necessary, let us 
change it by all means. But the resolution that has been put 
forward seems to me completely unacceptable and as it is 
worded, quite objectionable. It is all very well for out friends 
from Andhra or Maharashtra or Kerala or Karnataka to put 
forward a definite proposal which could be considered and 
then accepted or rejected. But a general proposition saying, 
‘Let us take the map of India and let us re shape and cut it 
up anew on the basis of language,’ is one which I submit 
no reasonable person can support. It means upsetting what 
you have and unsettling everything just when you are more 
or less settling down somehow or other. It would be danger- 
ous at any time but it is more so at a time when the world is 
on the verge of a crisis. One does not know what tomorrow 
or the day after might bring. For us to unsettle and uproot 
the whole of India on the basis of a theoretical approach or 
linguistic division seems to me an extraordinarily unwise 
thing. 

India has a magnificent inheritance. We, of course, want 
to better that inheritance and to advance it. In doing so, we 
sometimes think too parochially or provincially. I do not say 
that one should never think of one’s own parish or province 
but it is dangerous to have a parochial attitude to India as a 
whole. To my mind, this resolution seeks to transfer the 
parochial and provincial outlook to the whole of India and, 
as such, I cannot support it. 

My honourable friend, Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee, 
spoke eloquently of West Bengal. I am sure every Member 
in this House is aware that West Bengal has to shoulder 

4—11 DPD/65 



88 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1958 


tremendous burdens as a result of the Partition and other 
matters connected with it. I have no doubt that no other 
State in India suffered so much. The argument advanced by 
Dr Mookerjee was that some adjoining areas should be added 
on to West Bengal because it had a heavy population. Now, 
I am not giving an opinion. Logically or theoretically speak- 
ing, that seems to be a valid argument. But you cannot 
always be logical in these matters. I am quite sure that 
Members from Bihar do not wholly approve of what Dr 
Mookerjee has said, regardless of what party they belong 
to. I shall not go into the question as to who is right. 

Two or three months ago, I was in the Darjeeling area of 
North Bengal and there was a deputation from the Gurkha 
League demanding a Gurkha or Nepali province in North 
Bengal. Now, I am quite sure Dr Mookerjee does not approve 
of that. It means taking away something from the already 
restricted Bengal. I might inform the House of my own reac- 
tions to it. But, instead of using my own words, I shall read 
out something that Sardar Patel said in the House and with 
which I entirely agree. When the question of the Gurkha 
province or Uttarkhand came up, his answer was: “The 
Government of India consider this move of Uttarkhand in 
North Bengal as unreal, misconceived and harmful to 
national interests. The Government of India are determined 
not to give any quarter to any agitation for the formation of 
any such province and will not allow the solidarity of the 
country to be disturbed by such mischievous moves.” 

In this matter. Dr Mookerjee and I are in complete 
agreement. My point is this: if Dr Mookerjee raised the 
question of redistribution of provinces round Bengal, similar 
questions will crop up not only in the west but in the north 
too. One cannot envisage what will ultimately emerge from 
the boiling cauldron of redistribution all over India. 

It is all very well to say, ‘Decide this question this way or 
that way; do not leave it undecided.’ I can understand such 
an attitude in regard to a specific matter. But I do not under- 
stand how a question as general as redistribution can be 
decided this way or that. In fact, such things are normally 
not decided this way or that way. You may lay down some 



LINGUISTIC STATES 


S9 


general principles if you like but even principles can clash. 
There is the principle of linguistic provinces. There is the 
principle of economic self-sufficiency and there are financial 
considerations. All these have to be balanced before a parti* 
cular decision in a particular place can be taken. Normally, 
no single general principle should indiscriminately be applied 
to -a whole country. The present geographical structure of 
India has changed very greatly in the last three or four years. 
First of all, the Partition took away a considerable part of 
India. The picture changed still further by the merger of a 
large number of the old Indian States. Nevertheless, the 
old provinces of India, roughly speaking, remain more 
or less the same. That does not mean that they should not 
change. Certainly, they may change but you should start 
with the basis that you will not upset the status qvo. If a 
particular demand is considered reasonable, you can give 
effect to it. But to say that you should give effect to a parti- 
cular principle all over India has no meaning. 

In regard to countries like India and China, there is 
always difficulty about provincialism. They are huge 
countries and inevitably the various parts of the country 
differ from one another — sometimes in language, sometimes 
in the way of living and in many other things. In China 
they have some great advantages over us. They have, at any 
rate, one written language for the whole country although 
the spoken language differs. Both India and China have 
always had to contend against provincialism. I do not know 
enough about the past history or the recent history of China 
to be able to give details as to how they have dealt with this 
question. But, generally speaking, they have tried to get over 
provincialism by getting rid of the provinces themselves. I 
believe that, besides the two or three autonomous areas like 
Inner Mongolia and Tibet, China has been divided into 
zones which presumably cut across the old provincial 
boundaries. I merely mention this because the problem, in 
regard to the provinces and their size, is much the same 
here. The idea of linguistic provinces will intensify provincial 
feelings and that, undoubtedly, will weaken the concept of a 
united India. That is one aspect. 



40 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


Another equally important aspect is that we have certain 
very important languages in India. A language by itself 
may be good or bad; but round that language are clustered 
certain ways of living and sometimes ways of thought. It is 
but right that this particular aspect of cultural manifestation 
should have an opportunity for full growth. 

As far as languages are concerned, I think that we should 
encourage all the hill dialects of India. I am not in favour of 
suppressing any language and the major languages must 
certainly go ahead. The best way to encourage the growth 
of a people is through the language they speak and every 
State should recognize that; if the State is multilingual, it 
should encourage all the different languages, whatever they 
are. I do not quite see why the political boundary should 
necessarily be a linguistic one. If several languages are spoken 
in any particular region, they can all have an opportunity 
to develop. I feel that behind the demand for linguistic 
provinces there lies something a little more difficult to deal 
with than the problem of languages. That something is a 
feeling on the part of the people who make the demand that 
they have not had a square deal, that if they were left alone 
to manage their affairs they would see that they got it. I 
cannot say whether there is much justification for the exis- 
tence of such a feeling but the fact that it exists is not good 
for us. If we still function in a narrow, provincial way, 
reserving one group for our favours to the exclusion of 
another, it is unfortunate. It means that, however big we 
may talk, we are still limited in our outlook and do not 
think or function in a national way. Having admitted that, 
we must try to get over it. I should have thought that a 
multilingual State like Bombay or Madras afforded greater 
opportunities for growth and for developing a wider outlook 
than the big leviathan of a State like Uttar Pradesh. You 
will find in history and elsewhere that in some countries, 
small States are forced to think in large terms. They are 
forced to learn the languages of other States. Because people 
living in huge States and countries become so complacent 
that they do not think of people elsewhere. I do not know 
why people attach so much importance to the greatness of 



LINGUISTIC STATES 


41 


size. I suppose their preference for large areas is a relic of the 
old days when a man’s income was proportionate to the size 
of the land he owned. A large size does not necessarily imply 
growth in any sense, even though we seem to think so. I, for 
my part, would be perfectly agreeable if there were a pro- 
position that Uttar Pradesh, for instance, be split up into 
four provinces. However, I doubt very much if my colleagues 
from Uttar Pradesh would relish that idea; on the contrary, 
they would piobably like to have an additional chunk from 
some other province. 

Some hon. Members thought it desirable that Hyderabad 
should be split up into smaller units. I think such a step 
would be injurious to Hyderabad and would upset the whole 
structure of South India. It would be very unwis« to do 
anything that would destroy the administrative ccitinuity 
that has been achieved in Hyderabad after so much effort. 

We are perfectly prepared to accede to the very justifiable 
demands in South India. Of course, we are not going to 
re-shape India on a linguistic basis. We are, however, willing 
to look into specific issues but we cannot expect that there 
will be absolute unanimity in regard to them. Dr Lanka 
Sundaram said that no Andhra would ever relinquish his 
claim to the city of Madras. I am sure that people from the 
Tamil areas will assert something to the contrary with equal 
vehemence. Let the two come together and arrive at a settle- 
ment. I do not suggest that we remain passive in this matter. 
I am prepared to do all I can to help in a settlement but I 
do not see how I can go with a flashing sword to the Tamils 
or the Andhras and say, ‘You must submit to the other’s 
demand.’ Even if I did that, the results would not be good 
because I would leave a trail of bitter memories behind. 
We talk of Vishala Andhra, of Maha Gujarat, of the 
Samyukth Maharashtra and so on. A map will show that 
they all overlap and presage conflict. So long as you are 
discussing the principle of it, many people from Maha 
Gujarat will vote for Vishala Andhra and so on. But as soon 
as they look at the maps, there will be strife everywhere. 
Ancient history will be quoted: ‘In the year 1,000 A.D. or 
something like that, Maha Gujaiat spread right up to there’ 



42 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1053 


or ‘the Maharashtra Empire was up to here at the time of 
the Rashtrakutas.’ In their day, these ancient empires were 
imperial entities constantly at war in order to conquer terri- 
tory. Any talk of historical parallels inflames provincial 
sentiment and inevitably leads to a desire on the part of the 
State concerned to dominate over the neighbouring territory. 

No agitation is necessary to convince me that the Andhra 
claim is justified. I am already convinced. If you are an 
Andhra, you must reason with the Tamili ans and others 
concerned. I will participate in the talks if necessary. If, on 
the other hand, a similar demand is made in the case of 
Uttarkhand, I would strongly oppose it; I would also oppose 
a Sikh province. I am not going to play about with our 
frontiers in the north. But claims like those of Andhra or 
Karnataka or Kerala or Maharashtra have my concurrence. 
The odd thing is that the more agitation there is, the more 
rigid the contending parties become. The only way to settle 
disputes about linguistic provinces is to consider them in a 
spirit of goodwill. A plebiscite, supposing that the States 
concerned agreed to it, would not necessarily solve every- 
thing. If a party wins by a narrow margin — and this is 
bound to happen in most cases — a good deal of bitterness 
will be created. 

Professor Saha referred to the separate republics in the 
Soviet Union in support of the theory of linguistic provinces 
in India. The two are not really comparable, because India 
is much more of a unity than the Soviet Union. The Soviet 
Union is no longer a single empire but the union of a 
number of entirely different countries. They have formed 
a political unit and are happy about it. That is very good. 
They proceeded on the basis of independent republics 
federating together. Now, India cannot function on that 
basis. As I said, we are a much more unified country. 
If you consider Russia — not the Soviet Union — which is 
more of a unified country, in relation to India, it will be a 
better comparison. Large tracts of Asia, which belong to the 
Soviet Union, have been added to Russia and they follow a 
common policy. Even so, the practice, as a matter of fact, 
is really somewhat different from the theory — I mean the 



LINGUISTIC STATES 


43 


theory of secession. I think it is perfectly clear that no part 
of the Soviet Union can secede at all. Thus, in spite of the 
theoretical right of secession of the component parts, the 
process of centralization has gone pretty far in the Soviet 
Union. 



ECONOMIC PROBLEMS AND PLANNING 


THE MIDDLE WAY 

I t has been a great pleasure to me to come here. I have 
done so chiefly because my old friend Dr Hamied invited 
me and also because I consider that the chemical industry is 
a very important one. I have also come on a mission of curio- 
sity and intend to find out who the chemical manufacturers 
of this country are and what they are doing. I have learnt 
something from Dr Hamied’s address. Of course, I do not 
mean to say that I was totally unaware of their activities. 
Dr Hamied’s address added a great deal to my knowledge 
of what has been done or not done and also what the Govern- 
ment should and should not do. He has presumably asked 
me and others to appreciate and admire the work of both the 
chemical manufacturers and the other private interests 
engaged in industry in India. 

I have no doubt that much of their work is worthy of 
appreciation and occasionally some might even be worthy of 
admiration. Perhaps, it might be said that they have not yet 
attained the degree of perfection at which we aim and there 
might be some lapses on their part. We have, nevertheless, 
to look at this problem in relation to our country’s economy 
and her needs. We have to keep before us the problem of how 
to build or develop our economy and, in a smaller sense, our 
chemical industry as well. 

Looking at newspaper advertisements it seemed to me 
that one of the main industries in the country was the manu- 
facture of some potent and powerful pills. Being unacquaint- 
ed with the taste or effect of those pills and seeing the 
advertisements in the newspapers day after day, I began 
to dislike intensely the people who manufactured these 
things and advertised them so frequently. I may go a 

Address at the annual meeting of the Indian Chemical Manufactuiers’ Asso- 
ciation, New Delhi, December 26, 1950 



THE MIDDLE WAY 


45 


step further and say that I am a very bad product of the 
pharmaceutical age, because I have hardly ever taken 
any medicine, pills or drugs. However, I have no doubt 
that other people need these pills and I have no desire to 
deprive them. 

Dr Hamied has referred to some large questions. He has 
laid down some excellent maxims and some extraordinary 
maxims. He has stated as an obvious fact which admits of no 
dispute or aigument that private enterprise and nationaliza- 
tion can be equated with democracy and that totalitarianism 
and nationalization are the same. It is for the first time that 
I have heard such a viewpoint. I am not going to ente r into 
any controveisy about this or about what he called i ie dual 
policy of the Government. Obviously, he wants us cither to 
plump for absolute free cntei prise or for hundred per cent 
nationalization. 

I am afraid Dr Hamied is out of touch with what is 
happening in the world. There is no countiy in the world 
where the free enterprise of his dream exists. It does not exist 
even in the United States of America *\hith is the high- 
priest of free enterprise. On the contrary, it becomes less and 
less significant in spite of the country’s policy and its aims. 
World conditions today create forces which compel a country 
to progress in a cei tain direction, whether it wants to or not. 

1’here are countries like Soviet Russia and some others 
which fme gone a long way in creating a State which is in 
complete control of industry. Everything else is also State- 
controlled. Dr Hamied wants us to choose between Soviet 
Russia and something which does not exist anywhere in the 
world. That is a very hard choice indeed and I do not see 
why I should be forced to make it. It is inevitable that those 
countries, which do not want either of the two extremes, 
must find a middle way. In that middle way, there is bound 
to be more emphasis on some factors than on others but 
obviously a middle way or a mixed economy, if you like to 
call it that, is inevitable. That is not a dogma or an axiom 
which can be applied to any country regardless of its condi- 
tions. It will have to be decided by each country individually 
with regard to its particular conditions. What may be suit- 



46 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1959 


able for India might not be suitable, let us say, for Burma or 
Afghanistan or a country in Europe. We have to base our 
actions on objective facts and our capacities. We cannot 
think of this country’ in terms of what is happening in the 
United States. We must take into consideration the facts that 
are peculiar to and govern the situation. 

The United States of America has had 150 years of 
consolidation and growth and its capacity for production 
today is colossal. All kinds of economic forces which have 
little relationship with the old idea of capitalism are active 
in that country. Of course, America is a capitalist country 
and she is proud of being one. But the fact is that modern 
capitalism in the United States of America is vastly different 
from what it was twenty or thirty or forty years ago. It has 
changed. Even economies can move in a particular direction 
with a momentum of their own. I was told the other day by 
some one who knows — I have no idea how far the figures are 
correct — that one person in every five in the United States 
of America is in some kind of State employment. That is a 
prodigious number and America, mind you, is a capitalist 
and not a socialist State. The fact that one person in five is 
in State employment in a capitalist country shows how the 
nature of the capitalist State is changing. This means that in 
a country where conditions are different and where the 
stresses of modern life are greater, the changes are also bound 
to be of a basic nature. 

In England there has also been a. considerable change. I 
should like to know what the response from Parliament or 
from the Government or from other people would be if Dr 
Hamied’s axiom were to be stated in England. England is 
obviously pursuing a socialist policy and has been pursuing 
it with considerable courage during the last four or five years 
since the war ended. 

So, the problem is not a simple one. There are in this 
world various policies, ideologies and theories. I suppose there 
is some truth in each of them. However, my personal feeling 
is that while it is very important to have a theory as the 
logical basis of our thought, it is not reasonable to apply it 
by force to all conditions. We can use a theory for the pur- 



THE MIDDLE WAY 


47 


pose of argument and for testing its validity. In practice, 
however, you have to take the facts of the situation and adapt 
either yourself or your theory accordingly. Most countries 
have to do it. If I may say so, even Soviet Russia which seeks 
to base herself on a very hard and rigid theory of Marxism, 
interprets Marxism in a manner that suits her. The result is 
that her brand of Marxism has little to do with Marx. I am 
quite certain that Marx would be astonished if he were to see 
the various interpretations of his theory. Whether you ap- 
prove of this or not is immaterial. The important point is 
that Russians, in their own way, are hard realists and conti- 
nue to adapt their policy to what they consider for the 
moment good for their country or their party. 

Coming to India, we have to consider things a. they are. 
We cannot lay down any slogan or watchword ‘>nd try to 
force it through to its logical conclusion Whether it is in 
India or anywhere else, only those policies can succeed which 
promise to deliver the goods. There are no other tests. 
Broadly speaking, the present conflict is between the various 
foices represented by communism on the one side and on the 
other by something to which I cannot quite give a name. I 
cannot call it capitalism because it has all kinds of variations. 
What is really developing in the world is some kind of demo- 
cratic socialism. It is developing gradually and in varying 
degrees. Whatever the two conflicting forces may be, their 
real test is not going to be on the battlefield. They are ulti- 
mately going to be tested by the results achieved. 

We should try to understand our problems in as realistic 
a manner as possible, avoiding for the moment words which 
have long histories behind them and which confuse the mind. 
When we throw these ‘isms’ about as arguments, we get lost 
Passions are aroused and the hard facts are ignored. A person 
who calls himself a socialist naturally has a certain genera] 
outlook and a certain set of objectives. Another person may 
have quite a different point of view. If you put these two 
persons together, they hurl harsh words at each other and 
nothing results. If, on the other hand, they sat down together 
and said, ‘Well, here is a job to be done,’ something might 
result. Here in India, there is so much we want — food, cloth- 



48 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1959 


ing, housing, education, health — in fact, all the important 
things of life. How are we to get them? Surely, not by shout- 
ing slogans or passing resolutions about socialism or 
capitalism or any other ‘ism’. We will have to produce the 
goods and distribute them properly. We must think how best 
to do it. 

There is no doubL that American capitalism has an 
amazing capacity for production; in fact, it is colossal. This 
capacity of American capitalism was not always the same; 
it has changed and has been changing. Besides, the United 
States of America has had 150 years to achieve it in. It has a 
territory with huge economic resources. It had opportunity 
without the hampering background of conflict which other 
countries had to reckon with. It had neither a heavy popula- 
tion nor tire relics of a feudal age. It was a new country with 
enormous space and it developed to its present level in 150 
years. It is thus rather absurd to say, ‘Do what has been 
done in America.’ I would like to do it in my own way but 
bow can I do it? I do not have the 150 years or even 100 
years to settle down in and grow as America did. I have 
neither that enormous space nor that invaluable freedom 
from conflict and trouble. I have neither that much time nor 
the same opportunity. India is a big country with a back- 
ground of all kinds of conflict. Many kinds of forces are at 
play. I have got to solve my problems in the immediate 
present or in the near future, not in the next hundred years. 
Private enterprise in America developed gradually till it 
built up for itself a very strong position with enormous 
resources. Has private enterprise in India got the capacity 
or the ability or the resources to do that? It has ability and 
it has resources but it just has not the strength or capacity to 
solve the situation by itself. It is a patent fact that you just 
cannot do it. Is our private enterprise going to take up our 
river valley schemes? It cannot, because they are too big 
for it. These schemes cannot pay dividends quickly. We have 
to wait for years and years. Therefore, the State inevitably 
has to take them up. In America the railways are owned by 
private companies. Here we own the railways. Are we not 
told, ‘All this dislocates business. Let private enterprise have 




Paul, undid by Pmident Truman on his armal in Washington. His sister , brimali 
I yavilahshmi, and his daughter, Snmah Indiui Gandhi, are ah > in the picture 
Bicauni> thi di^iu of Dollar o/ Jaus from fit rural 
hiunhnur , (hi Pnudml of ( olumbia l m tnify 





With Sr imah Jndna Gandhi nnt i in of 
hu difiartun jot l idia from ih l S.A. 



V thi Kftttn Dam silt in flu Damodar l olliy 
Addusunq t( fumes ft am East bui^a! a l I hi Bon » atm lamp 



THE MIDDLE WAY 


49 


full play? If private enterprise has full play, one of the first 
casualties in this country will be private enterprise itself. To 
be frank with you — I am talking in general terms — private 
enterprise in this country is not wise enough. It may be clever 
in making money but it just is not wise enough. It does not 
see what is happening all round. It does not see a changing 
. world in turmoil but sees it in terms of an age that is dead and 
gone. 

It so happens — and it amazes me — that here in India, in 
spite of enormous difficulties, we have conflicts and all kinds 
of unhelpful criticism and condemnation of the Government. 
That very fact symbolizes a certain state of affairs in India 
and an attitude in the minds of her people which i'- far from 
critical. There is no doubt about it. When we talk of some- 
thing critical like the food situation, for instance, we use 
strong language without showing any awareness Cl the crisis. 
We live our lives in the same old wa) and though large 
numbers of people suffer in the country for lack of food, lack 
of shelter or lack of other things, most of us, especially those 
of us who criticize, lead our lives unaffected in any way. Asia 
is on the verge of a crisis. In fact, the whole world is tense 
with a sense of urgency but we have no such sense yeti 
Unfortunately, this lightheartedness in understanding what 
is happening all round us is not good because then realization 
sometimes comes as a shock. We have to take the problems 
of India and look at them in the context of the world. Let 
us deal with them as realistically as possible, having certain 
aims and objectives, trying to go towards them, adopting 
our policies with a view to realizing those objectives, without 
arguing so much and without having recourse to slogans or 
set terms. 

The only objective that you can set before you in the 
modern world is a widespread raising of the people’s standard 
of living. It is not the only objective but others arc subject to 
it. No government can afford to ignore the urges of the 
common people. After all, democracy has its basis on those 
very urges and if any government flouts them, it is pushed 
aside and other governments take over. They may be better 
or worse. That is immaterial. 



50 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 

Dr Hamied, in his address, criticized heavy taxation on 
the one hand and on the other called upon the Government 
to provide certain urgently needed things like a synthetic 
petrol plant which would cost thirty or forty crores. How 
can we reduce the revenue by lessening the taxes and still 
do everything that is necessary? I don’t understand. Natur- 
ally, there is a limit to our capacity to do things and there 
is a limit to taxation. We cannot go beyond that without 
disturbing the whole structure of our economy. Important 
things have certainly to be done and if enough money is 
not forthcoming, those things are not done. 

I should like you, gentlemen, to look at this picture and 
balance things. I want you to realize that in the modern age 
it is not possible to go back to the old days of a dead world. 
No country in the wide world can go back to those days. If 
you think in terms of going back then you are thinking in a 
vacuum and that is unreal thinking. How far the State can or 
should come in or how far there should be co-operation are 
matters for consideration but the real test is results which 
are not the accumulation of private fortunes but the advance- 
ment of the public generally. 


COMMUNITY PROJECTS 

I t all depends on how you and I and all of us approach the 
question. Is it just another of our many schemes — good 
schemes, no doubt — in which we shall do our day’s work 
and leave the rest to chance or is it something more than 
that? Is it something which you will direct from above as 
an administrator, as Development Commissioners, as a 
Central Committee or as the Planning Commission and so 
on, or is it something which will enable you to unleash forces 
from below among our people to do the work? Forces 
unleashed without definite aims and without proper co-ordi- 
nation sometimes yield good results and sometimes bad. A 


Speech at the Community Projects Conference, New Delhi, May 7, 1952 



COMMUNITY PROJECTS 


51 


good lead and a good organization from the top is obviously 
necessary and essential, yet it may be completely useless 
unless the forces from below are released. 

Sometimes, I begin to suspect and become a little afraid 
of these leads from the top that we, including myself, are 
always giving. We have got into the habit of doling out good 
advice to the country, to our people, to everybody. Neverthe- 
less, my own experience has shown that people who give too 
much advice are unpopular. They are irritating. At any rate 
such advice does not conduce to the good of others, as it is 
intended to. That is to say, if we act too much from the top 
without adequate foundations and without that intimate 
relation with the lower rungs, we can hardly achieve any 
great results. We will achieve something, of course. So the 
problem becomes one of how to bring about a unio. of these 
two elements. 

Obviously, it is necessary to plan, to direct, to organize 
and to co-ordinate; but it is even more necessary to create 
conditions in which a spontaneous growth from below is 
possible. I wonder if this Community Scheme is something 
which is likely to bring about a union between the top and 
the others. By the term top I do not mean that some people 
are superior; I mean those who guide, the organizers; and by 
others I mean the millions who will participate in the work. 
In fact, ultimately there should be no top and no gradations. 
Nevertheless, I feel that even the organizational lead should 
not be tossed like a ball from what is the top to what might, 
if you like, be called the bottom; that is to say, even the 
initiative for the Community Projects should come, wherever 
possible, from the people who are most affected by them. 

Often, we like to sit in our chambers and decide every- 
thing according to what we consider to be good for the 
people. I think the people themselves should be given the 
opportunity to think about it and thus they will affect our 
thinking as we affect their thinking. In this way, something 
much more living and integrated is produced, something in 
which there is a sense of intimate partnership — intimate 
partnership not in the doing of the job but in the making of 
the job and the thinking of the job. It is true that those of us 



52 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-195S 


or those of you who are more trained, who have given more 
thought to the problem and might be considered, to some 
extent, especially suited to that kind of work are better quali- 
fied for thinking and giving the lead than you or I; at the 
same time, it is equally true that unless those, who may not 
be specialists but for whom you are working and who ulti- 
mately are supposed to work for themselves, feel that mental 
urge, that impact of the creative spirit within them to think 
and act, they will not work in the way that we all want them 
to work. 

I do consider that the scheme of Community Projects is 
something of very great importance and it is so not merely 
because you can sum up and write down on paper the 
material achievements of such a project, which I hope will 
be considerable — all the additional food grown, the houses 
built, schools and dispensaries, better roads, tanks, wells and 
so on. You can make a list of them and it is pleasing to see 
that list but somehow my mind goes beyond to the man, 
woman and child. The house may be good but it is the 
builder of the house that counts ultimately, not the house or 
even the occupant of the house. Therefore, it is to the builder 
that my mind goes; we want to make the people of India all 
builders. These Community Projects appear to me to be 
something of vital importance, not only in the material 
achievements that they would bring about but much more 
so because they seek to build up the community and the 
individual and to make the latter a builder of his own village 
centre and of India in the larger sense. 

Now, how are you going to proceed? Naturally, not by 
vague talk and discussion. One cannot have those plans 
without a very great deal of careful discussion and I am 
glad to say that there has been a good deal of these discussions 
in the last two or three months and they have borne some 
fruit already. Yet a slight fear seizes me when I see all this 
planning and organization that, perhaps, we might begin 
to think that this is the major part of our work. That is, we 
might begin to think, as many of us are apt to do, that, sitting 
in big buildings and big offices, it is we who are doing the 
job. We are doing nothing of the kind. We are only indicat- 



COMMUNITY PROJECTS 


53 


ing how the job is to be done; it is the others who will have 
to do it. But, somehow, as things are, the persons who do the 
job are rather diffident. How to give the initiative to the 
people in these things? How to invest them with that sense 
of partnership, that sense of purpose, that eagerness to do 
things? 

Looking into my own mind and trying to revive old 
memories, I remember how at some periods of our 
existence, individual and national, we did think that way, 
we did feel that way and act that way. It is this sense which 
adds to one’s stature. Although that kind of thing has 
happened in this country, whether anything similar can 
happen again in our life-time, I do not know. We may not 
achieve our former standard because conditions are different. 
Anyhow, 1 am of a generation that belongs more or less to 
the past and cannot, therefore, speak for others — the younger 
generation, who ought to feel as we did. Whether we feel 
that way or not, it seems to me quite obvious that if the 
tremendous task of re-building India is undertaken, it will 
have to be undertaken with something much more than the 
books and statistics, papers and directions and planning 
and organization that we may put into it. It will have to be 
undertaken with something fiery and with the spirit that 
moves a nation to high endeavour. Well, can the Community 
Projects be looked at that way? Perhaps, I am putting it 
too high and it is dangerous to put a thing too high, because 
if you do so you are liable to react the other way. 

I suppose there is hardly a country — and I mean no 
disrespect to other countries — which has such high ideals as 
India. And I may add that there is hardly a country where 
the gap between ideals and performance is so big as in India. 
So, it is a dangerous thing to talk big and then not be able 
to come anywhere near your objective. Nevertheless, occa- 
sionally one has even to gaze at the stars even though one 
may not reach them. Merely to lower your ideals because 
you think they are too high is not right, even though you 
might not quite achieve these ideals. How far can we take 
the Community Projects out of the setting of your offices 
and make them a scheme for living men and women inspired 

5— U DPD/65 



54 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1955 


by something worth while to do? That is the problem. We 
measure and calculate rightly and inevitably about the 
finances and the resources involved; one has got to do it, one 
cannot act irresponsibly. However, if I may say so, all these 
are secondary matters. The primary matter is the human 
being involved, the man who is going to work, the man who 
is going to feel it and translate that feeling into action. Are 
you going to try to create that type of human being? The 
human being is there, of course: you have only to reach his 
heart and mind. You can do that but not by doling out 
advice. Take it from me, do not advise too much: do the 
job yourself. That is the only advice you can give to others. 
Do it and others will follow. Why do you think, it is your 
business to sit in a big office and issue orders because you are 
the Development Commissioner? If I may say so with all 
respect, you are no good if you do that. Better go some- 
where else and do some other job. Let us be clear about this. 

Whether it is the Development Commissioner or the 
Administrator, he must not sit in his office and issue decrees 
all the time. He must take the spade and dig or do something 
else. No man connected with the scheme, who merely sits in 
his office, is good enough, as far as I am concerned. If you 
work, you will make others work. That is the only way of 
giving a lead and calling upon others to work. We are be- 
coming a lazy people, especially with your hands and feet 
and often enough intellectually lazy, too. I regret to say, 
although it has nothing to do with our present work here, 
that our university standards are going down and, if this is 
not checked, I do not know how we are to make good in 
anything big later. However, that is another matter. 

Wherever you are, I expect that you should begin your 
work every morning with a little manual effort, if possible, 
in furtherance of the Community Projects. You must develop 
a sense of partnership. 

I do not know what our Development Commissioner or 
the Administrator has done thus far in regard to the produc- 
tion of leaflets, pamphlets, etc., explaining the schemes. I 
have seen a pamphlet here. It is in English. It is rather 
businesslike and good. I hope that such pamphlets will be 



COMMUNITY PROJECTS 


55 


issued in the various languages of India. But much more is 
required. I want this matter to be explained, not in this 
businesslike way but in a more human way, so that somehow 
it may catch the imagination of the people concerned. But 
what is more necessary is that you, the Development 
Commissioners, should function in a human way with the 
people, should talk to them in a friendly way, get to know 
what they want and explain to them what you propose to do, 
how it is then work, how it is not something imposed upon 
them and not even something that is a gift from above. You 
should explain to them that it is going to be a project of 
co-operative endeavour, how they will benefit by it and their 
children and their children’s children. See that you get to 
know them somehow, reach their minds and hearts and 
invite them to work with you; not under your command but 
with you, so that you gradually form some kind of brother- 
hood, a fraternity of workers. 

I speak, naturally, with some knowledge of my people. 
I am not afraid of criticizing my people. I have just called 
them lazy and all that. And yet I do believe quite honestly 
that the human material we have in India is very fine and, 
given the opportunity, it can achieve big things. How to 
give an opportunity to this vast mass of human material — 
that is the problem. You cannot suddenly give it to all, 
however much you may plan for it. Of course, you must plan 
for everybody. No planning which is not for all is good 
enough. You must always have that view before you and 
you must prepare the foundations for the next step towards 
the final goal. And so, you ultimately start a process which 
grows by itself. Suppose you take fifty-five Community 
Projects today; you plan next year to take another hundred 
or whatever the number and so on. You want the number to 
grow so that in the course of five or six years you may have 
from 500 10 600 or mote centres. 

That itself is a tremendous thing covering, as it possibly 
will, a very large proportion of our population. I was thinking 
of something slightly different in addition. Take a centre in 
one place comprising about a hundred villages; what you 
do there in a concentrated way will percolate through to the 



96 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


surrounding villages. If the work is too officialized, this will 
not happen. It will never spread beyond your immediate 
vision. It must not become something too rigid but be 
something which has an element of spontaneous growth 
within it. And that can only happen when you catch the 
imagination of the people. Then it grows automatically. 
There is always a danger — I am myself guilty of it often 
enough — that by direction and authority we may make 
a thing rigid, not flexible, making it a part of the official 
hierarchy. Now, official hierarchies are, I suppose, necessary. 
But with all the good they do, they have a certain deadening 
influence on anything that is spontaneous or vital. Commu- 
nity Projects will never grow if they are approached in that 
way. You must always think of the element of spontaneity. 

This kind of project will succeed or fail in the measure 
that you achieve results within stated periods. There is, of 
course, a certain amount of vagueness when you approach 
the people but there must be precision about one thing: 
about the time in which a thing must be done. That target 
must be continually before you. And if you do not reach it, 
well, you fail to that extent. 

Really, what we are committed to is not a few community 
centres but to working for the biggest community of all and 
that is the community of the people of India, more especially 
those who are down and out, those who are backward. There 
are far too many backward people in this country. Besides 
the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes organiza- 
tions, there is an organization called the Backward Classes 
League. As a matter of fact, you can safely say that 96 per 
cent of the people of India are economically very backward. 
Indeed, apart from a handful of men, most of the people are 
backward. Anyhow, we have to think more of those who 
are more backward because we must aim at progressively 
producing a measure of equality in opportunity and other 
things. In the modern world today, you cannot go on for 
long having big gaps between those who are at the top and 
those who are at the bottom. You cannot make all men equal, 
of course. But we must at least give them equality of oppor- 
tunity. So, I hope that these community centres will not 



HOPEFUL PROSPECTS 


57 


merely pick out the best and most favourable spots and 
help them start but also try to work out the problems of the 
other spots which are backward economically, socially and 
in other respects and thus gain a wealth of experience of 
various types and conditions in India, so that this tremendous 
problem of backwardness may be tackled in the best and 
quickest way possible. 


HOPEFUL PROSPECTS 

I am speaking to you over the radio after a long time and 
there are many things that I should like to talk about, for 
much has happened during this interval. But today I shall 
speak to you chiefly about our food situation. I should have 
preferred to do so a week or two later when, perhaps, I 
could have given you more facts. Our Food Minister, 
Shri Rafi Ahmed Kidwai, is touring the States in order to 
confer with the State Ministers, to take personal stock of the 
situation and to decide with their co-operation what steps to 
take. He has not yet finished his survey of the situation and 
so I cannot, for the present, talk to you in detail. However, 
since I had fixed tonight for my broadcast, I kept to it. Even 
though I shall not give you much new information today, I 
should like to talk to you about our common problems, 
because it is very necessary that there should be a close 
understanding between the people of this great country and 
the Government they have elected. 

For many years we have had to face tremendous 
difficulties in the matter of food. The last Great War, the 
Partition of India, overwhelming natural disasters in the 
shape of earthquakes, floods and drought and the growing 
population created a heavy deficit of food in the country. 
Food is after all a primary necessity and if we fail in feeding 
our people adequately, we can make little progress in other 
directions. 


Broadcast from All India Radio, Delhi, June 14, 1958 



58 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1955 


We had to import large quantities of foodgrains — wheat 
and rice and milo — at enormous expense. We have struggled 
against famine and scarcity in many parts of India and even 
in recent months we have had very difficult conditions in 
Rayalaseema, parts of Mysore, the Sunderbans area in 
Bengal, eastern Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Saurashtra, the 
Hissar District in the Punjab and Ajmer. In some parts of 
India it has been difficult to get even drinking water. 

Some districts of Madras, such as Rayalaseema, had 
been particulaily unfoitunate. They had severe drought for 
four successive years. We sent our army for relief work and, 
from all accounts, they did a very good job of it, indeed. They 
demonstrated that they were just as good in serving the 
people in a civil capacity as in a military one. Even as we 
grappled with the difficult situation in Rayalaseema, bounte- 
ous rain fell from the heavens and broke a long spell. For 
Rayalaseema, it was literally a blessing. Let us hope it is the 
end of the ill-luck we have been having in the country for the 
last four years. 

We have tried, to the best of our ability, to give relief by 
productive works, by deepening wells and boring new ones, 
by desilting tanks, by authorizing agricultural loans and 
remissions of land levenue and by the distribution of free 
food, when needed. 

In spite of our manifold difficulties there seems to be a 
change for the better in the food situation. For the first time 
we have large stocks of foodgrains; prices have generally 
gone down, except for those of the imported grains. Our 
slock position is satisfactory fen - the present and, to that 
extent, is some insurance against future mishap. We started 
the year with a stock of IB. 3 lakh tons of foodgrains. At 
present we hold a stock of more than 36 lakh tons, of which 
a little over 3.5 lakh tons is held directly by the Centre. The 
wheat harvest is good and our procurement this year has 
been better than it was last year. More foodgrains are being 
imported from abroad. There is plenty of wheat and milo in 
the country. There is not quite enough rice but we are making 
special efforts to get it in larger quantities. 

Prices of locally produced foodgrains have gone down 



HOPEFUL PROSPECTS 


but unfortunately we have had to pay heavily for imported 
grains and thus the pool rate of supplies to the States had to 
be increased. Great distress was caused when the Central 
subsidy on foodgrains was withdrawn, though special relief 
was given in regard to milo and in some other ways. The 
distress, however, led to a more correct appraisal of our food 
situation for the first time. At the beginning of the year, the 
States asked us to import over seven million tons of food- 
grains, a quantity which, besides being quite impossible for 
us to import, was not available in the markets of the world. 
The quantity was reduced to five million tons after some 
argument. Later we reduced it still further to four million 
tons. Anyhow, now we know what exactly our needs are and 
since we have a large stock of our own, it is well within our 
competence to supply those needs. Therefore, the future is 
hopeful. Prices are going down and the Central Government 
is taking steps to reduce the pool prices of wheat and milo all 
over the country. 

This is the background of the food situation and it seems 
to me satisfactory. But we have to be wary. We cannot afford 
to grow complacent or relax our vigilance. We have always 
to be prepared for every contingency whether it is due to 
drought or to the activities of anti-social people or to parti- 
cular conditions in the world. 

We have often been criticized for having a policy of 
controls but we are convinced that any relaxation at this 
stage will involve grave risks. We dare not risk another rise 
in prices because it will bring misfortune in its trail. There- 
fore, in spite of criticism, we have continued to follow a 
general policy of control. 

We have made an exception in the case of Madras State 
where controls have been removed for the moment. The 
whole State has been divided up into six zones, five of which 
are more or less self-sufficient in regard to food; the sixth, com- 
prising Malabar and the Nilgiris, has a heavy deficit. There is 
to be free movement within each zone but there will be cer- 
tain barriers between any two zones. We shall make special 
arrangements to supply food to Malabar and the Nilgiris 
and have fair price shops in the other zones so as to check 



60 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


high prices. A ration of five ounces of rice will be provided 
for the present holders of ration cards. There will also be a 
free market where foodgrains of any kind can be purchased. 

Conditions were peculiarly favourable for such a step in 
Madras. Madras has a stock of rice which will last her for 
more than a year if we calculate on the basis of the present 
quota of rations; there is a large quantity of wheat and milo 
in addition. Prices in the free market are low. These being 
the conditions, the recent changes in Madras involved hardly 
any risk. We have insured ourselves against such risk as 
there may be by opening Government Fair Price Shops 
which will control prices. Our administrative machinery in 
Madras will be kept in readiness. Any untoward develop- 
ment can thus be immediately controlled. I hope and believe 
that the steps we have taken in Madras will prove successful 
and that it will not be necessary to revert to a stricter system 
of controls. 

I shall not say much about the other States now because 
we are still considering their problems. It should be under- 
stood that we do not propose to abandon controls or 
procurement, though our manner of procurement may vary. 
Where conditions are favourable and risks negligible, we 
shall relax barriers and permit freer movement of foodgrains. 
We want to remove irksome restrictions as far as possible 
and offer an incentive to producers to grow more. 

Now is the time for all of us — Central and State Govern- 
ments, producers, distributors and consumers-— to co-operate 
in solving the food problem which has been a menace to us 
for many years. The solution may take some time but we 
can go a long way towards it. if we try hard enough. It is 
essential to produce more and prevent hoarding. Procurement 
must be made easy and prices must be kept down. 

There are many ways of increasing food production; 
more land can be brought under cultivation; more water 
can be supplied by irrigation or otherwise; and there can be 
more intensive cultivation. State Governments all over India 
have undertaken schemes for this purpose. Perhaps the most 
important of the methods of increased production is more 
intensive cultivation. If we increase the yield per acre even 



HOPEFUL PROSPECTS 


61 


by a little, the total increase will be considerable. Our yield 
at present is very poor and there is no reason why we should 
not increase it as other countries have done. Our farmers are 
hardworking but sometimes they lack good seed or good 
manure or something else that is necessary. The Govern- 
ments will certainly help them but ultimate success can only 
come - through self-help or, better still, through the co-opera- 
tives of farmers working together for their common good. 

Over two years ago, the Government of India introduced 
a Crop Competition Scheme on a countrywide scale in order 
to increase food production. We are now having our crop 
competition fortnight for this half year. This competition 
has already yielded very fine results and prizes for the highest 
yield in the village or mandal or district or State have been 
awarded to several farmers. Three crops were originally 
selected for competition, namely, wheat, paddy and 
potatoes. This year gram, jowar and bajra have also been 
included. 

We want these competitions to be held in every village 
under the organization of the Gram Panchayat or the 
Agricultural Development Committee or Co-operative 
Societies. The prizes for wheat go up to Rs. 500. A tractor 
costing Rs. 7,000 will be the all-India prize. A diesel engine 
will be given for the biggest yield in paddy. Those who win 
prizes will be awarded certificates of merit along with the 
title of Krishi Pandit. 

The results obtained in these competitions so far have 
been remarkable. In Uttar Pradesh, the highest yield for 
wheat per acre has been over 59 maunds and over 726 
maunds for potatoes. For paddy, the figure is over 73 maunds 
in West Bengal and 146 maunds in Madras. 

These figures show what we can do if we make up our 
minds to do it. Even if these figures are exceptional, the 
average is bound to go up and only a ten per cent increase in 
our average yield will solve all our food problems. 

I consider these crop competitions very important and 
I hope they will spread to every village in India. In Uttar 
Pradesh, there are 60,000 competitors this year. It is hoped 
that there will be over 9 lakhs of competitors for the next 



JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


competition this year. But this is not enough. We want every 
farmer to enlist and to take part in these competitions. 

I hope what I have told you will indicate that we are 
turning the corner in regard to food production and that 
the prospects are certainly hopeful. But everything depends 
upon our own efforts and our will to achieve. Given that will, 
success is certain, even though ill fortune may sometimes 
attend our efforts. I hope, therefore, that you will under- 
take this task with earnestness, strength of will and the prayer 
that good fortune be yours. 

Before I conclude, may I offer you my grateful thanks 
for the innumerable messages of greeting and goodwill that 
came to me on my assumption, for the second time, of the 
high office of Prime Minister? Vast numbers of friends and 
comrades, known and unknown, from all over the country 
sent these heartening messages and I felt infinitely grateful 
and very humble on receipt of this high token of your affec- 
tion and goodwill. May I be worthy of it and may our 
beloved motherland advance and prosper by our service and 
our joint efforts. 


THE DIGNITY OF LABOUR 

T am glad to be present at this Sammclan. It will be out of 
place lo talk of revolution here. It has become almost a 
habit with us to repeat old grievances and narrate old tales. I 
do not mean that we should not persist in righting wrongs, old 
though they be; but we must, at the same time, be alert and 
keep our heads on our shoulders. This country belongs to all 
of us. Before we attained independence our main object was 
to drive the foreigners out of this land. We talked of social 
and economic reforms then, too, but our struggle at that 
time was mainly political. 

After the attainment of Swaraj , economic and social 

Translated from speech in Hindi at the inauguration of the Harijan Conven- 
tion, Wardha, November 1, 1952 



THE DIGNITY OF LABOUR 


63 


problems have begun to loom large before us. There may be 
differences of opinion about these problems but the question 
is how to solve them. We talk of Gandhivad and other vads 
or ‘isms’ but our chief defect is that we are more given to 
talking about things than to doing them. We seem to think 
that social and economic reforms can be achieved merely by 
resolutions or legislations. 

You ought to give thought to your problems but I would 
ask you to broaden your vision and think of India, of Bharat 
Mata, as a whole. Who is Bharat Mata? It is you — the 
janata and the question before us is how to raise the economic 
standard of the nation. 

Giving government jobs to a few people will not solve 
the problem of the crores of Indians who are unemployed. 
It is not possible for the Government to find employment 
for everybody. If unqualified people are employed, the 
country will suffer. Let all those who are engaged in an 
occupation do their job well, for production is proportionate 
to the work done. The prosperity of a nation depends on its 
capacity for production and on a rational distribution of 
wealth. In order to ensure the latter, we must get rid of all 
the present bottle-necks. 

A revolution cannot increase our wealth, which really 
calls for hard work. After the revolution of 1917, the Russians 
had to work tremendously hard before they could reach 
their present position. They had their Five Year Plans and 
laboured with diligence and patience for them. The people 
gladly endured hardship and suffering so that the founda- 
tion of their Republic may be true and strong. The Russian 
Revolution took place 35 years ago and it is only now that 
the people are beginning to gather the fruit of their labours. 
For the first decade, they had to work hard and suffer 
even more than they did under the old regime; but they had 
courage and confidence. Revolution can remove an old 
regime but it cannot make a nation wealthy overnight. To 
improve their lot, the Russians toiled and sweated and have 
now come into their own. 

From Socialist Russia to Capitalist America is a far cry. 
It is true that America is two and a half times as big as India 



64 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


but the ratio of American production is far higher than ours. 
They have devised means of increasing their wealth. The 
average income of a working man is about a thousand rupees 
a month. The American people recognize the dignity of 
labour. Even the sons of the rich earn their living while 
they learn. They think it derogatory to live on the earnings 
of others. 

We have got to change our mentality. At present we are 
apt to look down on manual labour and that tendency is 
responsible for our present plight. There are two kinds of 
unemployment in our country — there are people who do not 
find work and there arc those who are not willing to work. 
During my recent tour of Assam I came across a young girl, 
who was carrying a load of fire-wood on her head. I stopped 
and spoke to her. I was surprised because she spoke perfect 
English. She had been educated in England. Her parents 
had lost their all in Pakistan and were reduced to penury. 
In spite of her background, she did not hesitate to do manual 
work. The most important thing is the will to work. The 
prosperity of a nation is judged by the number of people 
who are employed. Unemployment is the bane of a 
nation. 

I shall now come to an important social problem. It 
cannot be gainsaid that the Harijans have been oppressed 
for ages. Certain cruel customs have sprung up and they 
cannot be eradicated merely by legislation. Even so, I am 
sure that the present world conditions a.re bound, sooner or 
later, to bring about a basic change in the situation. If we 
want to prosper as a nation, we must put a premium on 
efficiency and competence and, therefore, only those who are 
competent should be given employment in the Government. 
Nepotism, favouritism or reservation will lower the standard 
of government work. It worries me to find our standard of 
efficiency falling. It will be dangerous to allow this state of 
affairs to continue, because in the next four or five years new 
responsibilities will devolve on us. 

It is wrong to think the government services are there to 
maintain the people. In advanced countries, it is no honour 
to be a government servant. It is only in backward countries, 



THE IMAGINATIVE APPROACH 


65 


where there is a great deal of unemployment, that govern- 
ment services are given undue importance. 

The test of competency is not merely a university degree. 
Our greatest responsibility today is to give every child — boy 
or girl — equal opportunity. My heart saddens when I see 
our young children going about half naked, half starved. It 
is our duty to supply them with proper nourishment and 
clothing. We have a glorious past and our history goes back 
thousands of years; but our civilization had its evils also, 
the caste system not the least of them. We must draw lessons 
from our past and rise to new heights. 


THE IMAGINATIVE APPROACH 

T am happy to be present here today not only because the 
subject with which you deal is important but also to pay a 
tribute to the work done by Indian engineers. The words 
‘Irrigation and Power’ excite my mind and all kinds of ideas 
come to me — ideas of history and long perspective of human 
progress. I do not know what kind of history books are 
written for schools nowadays. The kind of history that really 
counts does not merely present the names of kings and big 
individuals but traces the progress as also the occasional 
set-backs of humanity. The biggest development in the 
history of humanity was, I suppose, the discovery of agri- 
culture. Irrigation came later. I think it would be a fascinat- 
ing study to find out how the development of irrigation has 
affected human progress. That would naturally mean going 
into the development of various techniques and devices that 
have affected agriculture and finally coming to the latest 
techniques and the latest uses of power. 

There are the themes overriding the so-called national 
conflicts which affect the whole human race. In spite of the 
fact that there has been so much development in the applica- 

Speech at the Silver Jubilee celebrations of the Central Board of Irrigation 
and Power, New Delhi, November 17, 1952 



66 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 

tion of science, our minds remain narrow and limited and 
cannot get over the narrow boundaries, not only of 
geography but what is much worse, of the mind. The subject 
of irrigation and power, as I said, excites me and is full of 
adventure for me. When I look at the map of India in my 
office — and I look at it very often — -it stares me in the face. 
It is a huge map with marked physical features. That mighty 
chain of mountains in the north and north-east, called the 
Himalayas, is given a particular colour. I often think that 
not only is this great mountain chain a boundary and a 
frontier of India rising like a great sentinel, inspiring so much 
of our culture and thought through the ages but that this 
mighty chain is also an untapped source of vast energy. 
The energy flows out in great rivers, watering the plains of 
India, running into the sea and forming minerals and the 
rest of it. If only we could utilize this mighty reservoir of 
energy to full purpose, what could we not do with it? Since 
it has to do with human progress, this subject is full of 
adventure and excitement for me and I should like you to 
consider it in the same way, because you thereby give life 
to something that is otherwise dull and dry. 

Now, as a politician and as one who meddles in many 
other things not directly connected with politics, I have to 
deal with very difficult material. You can measure with 
your techniques and rules the hardness or the strength of this 
metal or that, of stone and iron and so on but how do you 
measure the content of a human individual? A politician 
in the real sense of the word has to deal with human beings 
as material and not with stones and steel and iron and the 
like. Human material is not only a difficult material but also 
an exciting material because it is a live, growing, changing 
and dynamic thing. No two persons are alike and we have to 
build with that material! If you deal with stones and cement 
and steel and iron in a dead way without any feeling of build- 
ing life or something that is akin to life, then you are second- 
rate men. You have not grasped the problem; you are just 
people sitting down at a table with pen and ink writing 
down figures and calculations, which may, of course, be 
useful, but you have lost the essence and meaning of the 



THE IMAGINATIVE APPROACH 


67 


work you are doing. That applies to every politician and to 
every profession. It applies more especially to those of us 
who, like me, inexorably grow in years. We grow static in 
mind and it is extraordinarily difficult to prevent it. One 
loses the resilience of mind which is a necessary concomitant 
of life. When that resilience goes, then a person begins to 
recite' pet phrases and pet dogmas, whether it has to do with 
religion or science or any other branch of human activity. 
These pet phrases are characteristic of a mind that is dead 
and has lost the capacity for growth. I find a great deal of 
this narrow-mindedness. When a man says: ‘We have the 
truth, you have not. We know this, you do not,’ then I 
suspect him. I feel that he has lost touch with something 
that was growing, that he has got left behind. 

The point I want you to appreciate is that even the work 
you do here should be infused with adventure, life and the 
things that come out of life. When you are building a bridge 
it signifies infinitely more than just a bridge. When you are 
working for a river valley scheme, for instance, you must 
also see the other vast things that flow from it besides canals 
and irrigation and hydro-electric works and industry and 
all that. There is something even more important than these, 
and that is, the progress of humanity in a particular direc- 
tion. If your imagination is fired by an idea or a problem, 
then the work that you do will be vital whether you do it as 
a chief engineer or a small engineer, a mechanic or even as 
an unskilled labourer. It is sad that imagination counts for 
so little today and we work in grooves. I suppose, too much 
imagination would lead us astray and we do have to keep 
our feet on the ground. Nevertheless, too little of it is also a 
handicap. I find that one could do with a good deal more of 
imaginative approach here in this city of New Delhi. A man 
who sits cooped up in an office becomes static and a dead- 
weight. If I may make a personal confession, that is why I 
occasionally want to run away from New Delhi and rush 
about from place to place. I want to escape from the deadly 
static atmosphere of paper and files and ink in which one 
forgets that there are human beings in India. We consider 
figures but figures are no human beings; figures are only 



JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


hints or some suggestions as to what human beings are. Well, 
I get out and I see the faces of my people and your people 
and derive from them inspiration and what is much more 
important, something dynamic and growing. I grow with 
them and to some extent get in tune with them. I hope, I 
also affect, to some extent, the mood and tune of their minds. 
Whatever capacity you may work in, I am quite sure, you 
will deteriorate, unless you go down to the field and do the 
job yourself and unless you refuse to consider any job too 
low for you. You have to maintain a direct contact with the 
living thing that you are building. A bridge is a living thing 
if you look at it imaginatively; everything is living if only 
you look at it with the eye of imagination and are alive to 
what the thing is and what it means to humanity. It is part 
of human life and human progress. Engineers, therefore, are, 
normally speaking, fortunate, because they have to work 
in the field which an average person sitting in an office does 
not have a chance to do. 

Our ideas of education which are very slowly being 
given effect to — I wish the pace was faster — revolve round 
this so-called basic education. There are many virtues in 
basic education; but the main thing is that you really get 
down to something and not just repeat things from a book. 
You get even the smallest child to do something. Of course, 
there is nothing specially Indian about it. Modern education 
is like that everywhere. In India, a certain trend has been 
given to it, notably by Mahatmaji. The idea is to get down 
to the job with your hands and feet and not talk about it. 
I am tired of people who merely talk about things. How- 
ever wise you may be, you can never enter into the spirit of 
a thing if you only talk about it and do nothing. Even 
scientists have a tendency to let a wonderful experiment 
remain an experiment once it has been performed. The 
next stage somehow does not come. They may well say that 
the next stage is somebody else’s job but I think, if the 
scientist had a sense of practical application, he would either 
try to do it himself or get somebody else to do it. This asso- 
ciation of thought with action is, I think, of utmost 
importance. Thought without action is an abortion; action 



THE IMAGINATIVE APPROACH 


without thought is folly. They must always be allied, what- 
ever we may do. As I said before, they are normally allied in 
an engineer and, therefore, he perhaps keeps fresher than 
others do. Also, the engineer is actually building; he is not 
planning for others to build. There is some value in making 
plans, of course; it has to be done but the man who does the 
job in the field is actually creating something and there is 
nothing like creative activity for the growth of the individual 
and the community. 

As I said, you engineers are fortunate; but you are fortu- 
nate only if you realize your good fortune and live up to it. 
If you also become static under the enervating atmosphere of 
New Delhi or wherever you live, then so much the worse for 
you. However high your intellectual attainments might be, 
you will lose the living touch and it is the living touch that 
counts in life, whatever you may or may not do. 

I confess I was very much surprised to learn that samples 
of some materials had been sent for testing to distant 
countries. Of course, it may be that a particular object 
sometimes has to be sent abroad but to adopt such a proce- 
dure in the normal course seems to me an amazing confession 
of our weakness and inability to do anything. If you have to 
get things tested abroad, what are these dozens of laboratories 
and all these scientific and research institutes here for? I 
think this matter should be looked into. 

If I may take this matter a little further, I am not at all 
enamoured and as the days go by I become more and more 
suspicious of the crowds of people who go out of India for 
so-called education. Undoubtedly, there has been some 
change in this state of affairs since the days when I went 
abroad. At that time, a great majority of Indian students 
used to go to the United Kingdom in the hope of adorning 
the profession of law subsequently. Well, some of them did; 
most of them did not. Now people go mostly for technical 
studies, and this of course is infinitely better. Such informa- 
tion as I have, goes to show that most Indian students in 
England and America do well in their work. I have nothing 
against that. In every matter, be it education, science, 
culture or anything else, I dislike nothing so much as the 

6—11 DPD/65 



70 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


narrowly nationalistic approach which makes us think that 
we have attained the summit of wisdom and that we need 
not learn anything more. That kind of attitude denotes a 
static condition. And anything that is static becomes stagnant 
and gradually leads to death. I am all for opening our minds 
to every kind of knowledge or information that can be 
obtained. I am all for free intercourse with the rest of the 
world; I am all for inviting people from other countries to 
come here to learn from us and to teach us. I want no 
barriers. Therefore, it is not with a view to having a barrier 
that I say what I am going to say. 

I have explained what my basic position is. Even so, I 
feel surprised at this excessive enthusiasm to rush abroad to 
learn something. It is, indeed, amazing how many people 
are constantly going abroad. I am not talking, for the 
moment, of students. That is quite another matter. Students 
should certainly go but I shall qualify that by saying that 
they should go only if they are capable of profiting by it and 
that not everybody whose parents have superfluous cash need 
go. I am talking for the present of people other than students. 
During the last two or three years, there has been such an 
abundance of all kinds of scholarships, fellowships, this, that 
and the other that I have lost count of them. We became 
rather alarmed at the large numbers of people who went 
abroad. This included a very large number of officials of 
the Government of India and State Governments who, 
instead of doing their jobs, were constantly trying to learn 
something from abroad. This desire was no doubt laudable. 
We tried to make a rule so that nobody in government 
service could go without special reference to the Cabinet 
itself. The result of that rule was that half the work of the 
Cabinet was to consider these applications! It is amazing. 
The other day, I had a chart prepared to show how many 
officials had gone abroad in the course of one year. It 
astonished me to see the number which ran into many 
hundreds. I agree that we should aim at higher efficiency and 
that our officials should go and learn. What disturbs me is 
the scale at which this has happened because of these 
scholarships and fellowships and things like that. There is a 



THE IMAGINATIVE APPROACH 


71 


tendency to accept these scholarships too readily, because 
people feel that the United Nations or the FAO or some other 
organization is paying for them. They do not realize that 
payments are never made for nothing. In fact, a good part 
of the expense does fall on us. We also lose the services of a 
highly paid man for a period. What do we pay him for? 

There is yet another aspect to this problem — and this 
applies to students as well as to others who go abroad. We 
do want to learn the highest technique and to make our 
people as efficient as anybody else in the world. But we should 
like them to be efficient and yet to fit into the scheme of 
things in India. Obviously, the highest type of efficiency is 
that which can utilize existing material to the best advantage. 
If a person has to work in India as an Indian mus f , then he 
must know how to work in India. It is no good if a man 
comes back from America and tells me, ‘I will do this and 
that if you get this and that equipment from America.’ When 
expensive machinery of all kinds which we have not got, 
which we cannot afford to get is not available, he bemoans 
his lot — ‘How backward we are, we cannot do this, we have 
not got this and we have not got that.’ He becomes frustrated 
and the very special knowledge that he has obtained is of 
little use to us because his mind has somehow been adapted 
to a different environment. That environment may be very 
good but it so happens that our environment is different. 
The result is that we can derive no profit from the expendi- 
ture of so much time, energy and money on the education 
of a student or an official. You have to function in India with 
the material and environment of India and you have to 
make that go as far as possible. Certainly we shall get equip- 
ment and machinery from abroad where needed but it 
should only come when it is absolutely necessary. As far as 
possible, it should only come once and we should then 
produce it ourselves. There is no point in putting up magni- 
ficent structures with the aid of foreign equipment. They 
will be just showcases that do not fit into the general scope 
of the development of India. 

I entirely agree with what the President said about the 
far greater importance of developing our smaller valley 



72 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


systems. It is true that to a large extent we have to go in for 
enormous undertakings but our emphasis should be on 
developing India as a whole. We are not out to develop one 
little part of it more than the rest. The more we spread out 
the development, the better it is. Of course, everything has 
ultimately to be judged by the general progress, development 
and advancement of the human beings involved, not by a 
show-structure put up for others to see so that you may be 
able to show off your skill. I do not mean that we should 
not experiment or go ahead with specialized things. We 
must do that also, otherwise we cannot progress and our 
levels remain low. 

There is, however, one difficulty. If you look at the 
political field or the economic field or any other field, you 
find two slightly contradictory tendencies. One is the 
tendency to centralize. Now, centralization is inevitable in 
the modern world, whether it is governmental or of any 
other kind. It may give you better results, it may develop 
better efficiency and all the rest of it, although a stage arrives 
in the progress of centralization when perhaps efficiency does 
not grow but lessens. The other tendency is, shall I say, the 
growth of individual, human freedom. Undoubtedly, the 
greater the centralization, the less the individual freedom, 
even though the results obtained might be better. Some 
people prefer the processes of decentralization because they 
allow the individual to grow more. On the other hand, 
there are certain very important things in modern life which 
cannot be decentralized if you want any progress at all. Well, 
you have got to balance all these things but the main thing 
is that the growth of the individual human being or group 
cannot be imposed. A human being grows and ought to grow 
like a flower or a plant. You cannot pull it out; you can water 
it, you can help it grow; you can give it good soil; you can 
put it in the fresh air or in the sun. But it has to grow itself; 
you cannot make it grow by force. Many of our people 
sometimes think that you could make something grow by 
some decree from above but you cannot. 

I do not know if I have talked relevantly or not about 
irrigation and power. But being somewhat imaginatively 



THE IMAGINATIVE APPROACH 7S 

inclined, my mind runs oS in various directions. I was talking 
to you about the effect the map of India with the Himalayas 
produced on me. I thought of the tremendous source of 
power, often enough running to waste and of the potential 
energy which is there for you to tap. I wonder if ever there 
will be somebody wise enough and knowledgeable enough 
• to write the story of our rivers. What a wonderful story they 
would make! Let us take the story of the Ganga. It will be 
the story of India and more especially of North India. It 
will be far more important, far more living and real than all 
the trumpery history books that you have. It will be the 
story of the growth of Indian culture and civilization; it will 
be the story of the great cities on the Ganga; it w ; ll be the 
story of the Gangetic valley and the water of the Ganga 
helping irrigation and so on; it will be the story of the rise 
and fall of empires; it will be the story of the development 
of human life, of people, Aryans as well as other races, 
coming down from the north-western frontier to the broad 
plains of India right up to the Ganga. It will be a magni- 
ficent story if it could be written properly. Of course, it is 
not the engineer’s job to write it but I want the engineer 
who works on these rivers to have an imaginative approach 
to his work. Then the water he deals with will become alive. 
Even the stones will tell a story. I should like, not only the 
big engineer or the middling engineer but also the small 
engineer to think in this way and to convey something of 
this exciting approach to the worker in the field. Make him 
realize that he is also working with live material, even though 
it might be stone or steel and that it will give birth to further 
life. Let him be a partner in this adventure that you are 
starting. If you approach your problems in this spirit, the 
results will ultimately be far speedier and other results will 
also follow. In the process, the worker and the engineer will 
also progress and advance and become better men and 
women. 



NO CHANGE IN FOOD POLICY 


I have hesitated to intervene in this debate because I wanted 
hon. Members to have as much time as possible to discuss 
this most important matter. Later, my colleague, the Food 
Minister, will reply to this debate fully. My colleague, the 
Finance Minister, gave a very lucid analysis of the situation 
yesterday and made clear the basic policy not only of the 
Government but also on behalf of the Planning Commission 
— not that the two are separate or in opposition — and he 
spoke with authority since he has a great deal to do with the 
burdens of both. Yet I want to say a few words, because 
recently there has been some confusion in the public mind 
and many things have been said which appear to me to have 
no justification whatever. Newspapers have splashed big 
headlines, leading the public to imagine things that did not 
exist. I wish to clear the confusion as far as possible. 

The hon. Member who asked me earlier' in this session 
whether there would be a debate on food policy was 
probably under the impression that some big changes were 
under consideration. As a matter of fact, a change in policy 
was neither intended nor suggested. Certain minor changes 
are certainly contemplated; but they have nothing to do with 
the basic policy that the Government has attempted to follow 
and intends to pursue in future. 

I am sure the House will realize that during the last few 
years the Food Ministry has had to face very difficult 
problems. The Government and the Cabinet have, of course, 
shared to some extent in carrying the burdens of the Food 
Ministry but the person who was ultimately responsible was 
the Food Minister in office. I am not denying that we have 
made mistakes but we have also endeavoured to profit by 
them. It must be conceded that the food situation in the 
country, which was difficult for a long time, has now 
considerably eased. Although other factors have contributed 
to the improvement, I think we are justified in saying that the 
present favourable situation is, to some extent, the result of 


Speech in the House of the People, New Delhi, November 18, 1952 



NO CHANGE IN FOOD POLICY 


75 


Government policy also. In this connection I should like to 
pay tribute to my colleague, the Food Minister, who has 
approached the very difficult and complicated subject of 
food with an energy and an awareness which, I think, have 
produced certain positive results all over the country. 

The House has already had a fair dose of figures and 
•details, so I shall not go into them. But it is essential that we 
do not miss the wood for the trees. In a debate of this kind, 
it is natural that hon. Members should be more concerned 
with the situation in their particular State or area: and it is 
right that they should do so. Nevertheless, the most important 
thing is that we keep in view India and her food problem as 
a whole and remember our basic policy. 

It is open to the House to discuss our basic policy but in 
so far as the Government is concerned, there ha> been no 
occasion to effect any change in it. And as far as we can see, 
no such occasion is likely to arise. I can only add that our 
basic approach will remain unchanged, even though the 
food position is much brighter. 

The Finance Minister pointed out the close relationship 
between the food question and planning. I put it in a more 
homely way when I said that planning was a kind of house- 
keeping for the nation. The fact that we are now better off in 
many respects does not mean that we should leave the 
nation’s house-keeping to random forces. What we should 
do is to modify and improve our methods of house-keeping 
if we find that they are inadequate. But in regard to the 
supply of food and other necessaries of life, it is not enough 
merely to see that there is fair distribution or that people do 
not prosper at the cost of others. If we do this and no more, 
our economy will remain static. We must also see that we 
get the best out of our development and planning pro- 
grammes. For instance, if there is a surplus of food in the 
country, we would naturally like the nation to be fed more 
adequately; but we must also think beyond the immediate 
wants of the present and utilize our resources with foresight. 
There is, for instance, a pressing need for development in the 
country and we should really be thinking in terms of even- 
tually exporting some of our surplus food so that we can 



76 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1958 


increase our capacity for importing essential goods like heavy 
machinery. Perhaps, the House remembers that, about 
twenty years ago, a phrase became rather notorious in 
Germany: guns versus butter. In those days, Nazi Germany 
preferred guns to butter; her people gladly went without 
butter so that they could export it and get guns for the money 
thus earned. Of course, we are not interested in guns in the 
same way; nor are we going to give up butter for guns. We 
might, however, have to give up butter for something more 
useful to us in our economic development. Even though we 
possess all the necessaries of life, we must learn to tighten 
our belts in order to get the things we do not immediately 
want but which are vital for future growth. I do not suggest 
that we should do without adequate and healthy food but 
I see no reason why we should put up with circumstances 
which allow the wastage of food. It is difficult enough — at 
least for some of us — to plan our own house-keeping. To 
take charge of house-keeping for the entire nation is, there- 
fore, a very intricate and difficult matter, indeed. The basic 
issue before the House is whether we can entrust this vital 
and important matter to free enterprise and an absolutely 
free market. 

Today, the conception of free enterprise and an 
absolutely free market is out of date, because an economy 
based on them soon becomes unmanageable. In a country 
like India, where resources are limited and have to be 
stretched to capacity, we cannot let free enterprise and an 
absolutely free market dominate the scene. That does not 
mean that we should wipe out the free market completely 
but we have necessarily to control the basic economy of the 
country at strategic levels. That especially applies to food. 
The nature of government control should depend on the 
existing circumstances. We can easily discuss this as it con- 
cerns factual data. I should like to give the House a parallel 
from the army. The function of an army is to control a parti- 
cular area or State. He would, indeed, be a foolish general 
who would spread his army in every village of the area and 
try to control every independent individual. The situation 
could be controlled more effectively if he were to concentrate 



NO CHANGE IN FOOD POLICY 


77 


only at strategic points. This applies to our policy of food 
distribution also. We cannot allow powerful forces to upset 
the basis on which we plan to act. It remains to be consider- 
ed, however, what the strategic points in regard to food 
distribution are. Also, we must not formulate our policy on 
the presumption that nothing untoward will happen and 
that there will always be a good harvest. Take Pakistan, for 
instance. Pakistan flourished like the green bay-tree in 
regard to food for three years or more. Then prices shot up 
because of the Korean war. Pakistan made a lot of money 
and very unfavourable comparisons were made between 
India and Pakistan in respect of the food situation. It is not 
for me to criticize the policy of the Pakistan Government. I 
do not know the details but it is obvious that a single bad 
harvest has thrown the administration completely out of 
gear. They have had a bad time in regard to food. Here is 
a country with a considerable surplus of food suddenly faced 
with a heavy deficit and forced to have recourse to import- 
ing food from the far corners of the earth! Therefore, we 
cannot afford to base our policy merely on hopes. Let us 
realize that. 

The other question to be considered is the application of 
strategic controls or the periodical relaxation of non-strategic 
controls. Although this is a detail, it has an important bear- 
ing on the actual working out of an effective policy of food 
distribution. It does not necessarily follow that a single policy 
will answer the needs of the whole country. Conditions vary 
in different States and one has to adapt oneself to them, 
although the basic approach must remain uniform. Its 
implementation will necessarily depend on internal factors 
peculiar to the State in question. When one of these factors 
happens to be food, it has to be considered very caref ull y 
indeed. I heard the other day that one of our State Govern- 
ments was taking action against a large number — I think 
it was 15,000 — of young boys for a petty offence like carry- 
ing a handful of rice -or wheat from here to there. When a 
State is constrained to spend all its administrative energy on 
catching little boys, there is something wrong in its method 
of approach. There is nothing wrong with control; but there 



78 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


is something wrong with wasting energy on trivial offences 
while the major offenders get away. It is far better to impose 
some kind of regulation which, if I may repeat, gives the 
State Governments more control over the strategic points 
than to catch hold of boys and girls for technical breaches. 

There is a tendency in each State to consider itself as 
something different from the rest. But the poor people living 
on the borders of the States probably have no such distinctive 
feeling. They may have their relatives on one side and the 
nearest market on the other side of the border. It would, 
therefore, be natural for them to want to cross over. So, the 
less we upset the normal functions on the border, the better 
it will be. We would avoid harassing situations which do not 
in any way help our basic economy and are only a needless 
burden. 

It must be made perfectly clear that, at the present 
moment, our concern is not with rice and wheat. We are 
dealing specifically with millets which constitute a consider- 
able portion — about 40 per cent or so — of our food consump- 
tion. Millets are normally produced for local consumption 
and have, therefore, not been distributed on as large a scale 
as rice and wheat have been. For this reason, the distribution 
of millets, in spite of the fact that they constitute 40 per cent 
of our food consumption — I speak subject to correction — 
has not aggravated the food problem as much as wheat and 
rice have done. All I am saying is that every step we take 
should be considered from the point of view of its effect on 
the general situation and in particular on the rice and wheat 
situation. So far, the millet situation has not affected our 
policy very much but if we go a step further and if, as is 
proposed, we maintain State barriers for millets, leaving 
only internal freedom of movement, we shall be maintain- 
ing a good deal of control. The proposed step, therefore, 
appears to be a fairly safe one from the point of view of 
our larger policy. At the same time, it eliminates a great 
deal of petty troubles and harassments. It gives us a 
chance to see how things develop; if they do not develop 
satisfactorily, it is always open to us to revoke this step and 
try something else. I suggest to the House that this is the 



NO CHANGE IN FOOD POLICY 


79 


proper approach. I believe that an amendment has been 
made to the effect that the Government should not only accept 
and approve of the general policy of control but also be agree- 
able to any advantageous adjustments or modifications that 
are in keeping with its basic policy. The amendment runs 
thus: 

“and having considered the same, this House approves 
of the policy of Government regarding general control 
of foodgrains and welcomes the desire of Government 
to adjust the same to suit local or temporary condi- 
tions without prejudice to the basic objectives.” 

I think that amendment represents correctly the position of 
the Government. I should like the House to realize that the 
basic fact of our food policy is the control of foodgrains. 
This is essential, because we must grow more in our country 
and distribute it equitably, if we are to work for a steady and 
rapid decline in the import of foodstuffs. At the same time, 
we must recognize that ours is not merely a doctrinaire 
approach — which has no relation to changing facts and 
changing situations — or one that merely harasses people 
without producing any results. 

We just cannot function if we concentrate only on 10 or 
15 per cent of our people and forget the others. Among the 
others, there are a large number of people who are food 
producers. The difficulty arises in the case of those who are 
neither food producers nor city dwellers nor dwellers of 
rationed areas. Any policy that we frame must keep in view 
the necessity of keeping the prices down for these people. 

Yesterday, Dr Lanka Sundaram reminded me of the 
repeated statements I made three years ago to the" effect that 
we would put an end to all food imports by March or April 
1952. I forget when exactly I made that statement but I did 
so in all sincerity and with every intention of trying my best. 
I regret, however, that my words have been falsified and I 
feel thoroughly ashamed that what was almost a pledge to 
the country has been broken. Therefore, I am very much 
averse to making any definite statement or pledge now. But 
I do not see why I should not say that we intend making 
every effort to reduce food imports and, if possible, put an 



80 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


end to them within the period of the Plan, unless grave 
emergencies occur. This is our proposition and the statistics, 
as they appeal now, give us some hope that it is a feasible 
one. 


ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY 

I have a feeling that another stage in our journey has been 
reached and a duty done — well done, if I may say so. At the 
same time, I feel even more strongly that a still more difficult 
duty is ahead of us. Another journey has immediately to be 
undertaken in which there are no resting places. 

As far as the present Plan is concerned, it may be said to 
have had its beginning long before the Planning Commission 
came into existence. Much thought and many discussions 
had been devoted to the question of planning in India before 
the Planning Commission was actually created. I suppose 
I can speak about the Planning Commission without being 
unduly modest, because my connection with it has been 
intimate. Nevertheless, the burden of work fell lightly upon 
me. Others carried the burden and if I praise the work of 
the Commission, I do not praise myself. As I said, I can 
speak a little more freely about it than if I had been one of 
the recipients of my own praise. 

The Planning Commission has woxked very hard, very 
conscientiously, very earnestly and with a true crusading 
spirit in preparing this Plan. 

I should like, therefore, to pay tributes to them — and it 
is not empty tribute paid blindly but tribute paid with due 
knowledge of what they have done. And that, if I may say 
so, need not necessarily mean that we agree or disagree with 
any particular chapter or particular part of the Report. 
The work of the Commission is, in a sense, the first of its 
kind — certainly the first of its kind in India. I think we might 
justifiably add that, in its particular context, it is the first 

Speech in Che House of the People, New Delhi, December 15, 1952 



ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY 


81 


thing of its kind anywhere. Planning became well known 
when the first Five Year Plan of the Soviet Union came into 
the field twenty years ago and has been something rather 
fashionable and much talked about ever since. 

It is easy to talk about planning in limited spheres of 
activity. Naturally, planning for a whole nation involves 
• infinitely greater effort than planning in bits. Planning, in 
the larger sense, is thus an integrated way of looking at a 
nation’s manifold activities. 1 do not mean to go in for 
comparisons but the old Soviet approach to planning was 
different from ours, both from the point of view of objectives 
and that of the methods adopted, though the difference 
between the two countries was greater in the Litter case. 
In view of the fact that we function under a democratic 
set-up, which we have deliberately adopted and enshrined 
in our Constitution and in this Parliament, any planning 
that we do must naturally be within that set-up. The 
Planning Commission does not have the right to draw up a 
programme that has no relation to our Constitution or to 
the set-up under which we work. 

Now, that puts certain self-imposed limitations on a plan 
but I would like to say that those limitations are not final. 
I do not think it would be right to say that democratic 
functioning necessarily means limitations. It may make the 
way a little more difficult; the procedure adopted may have 
to be a little more complicated. But it should be possible for 
a democratic set-up, if it is properly worked, to make provi- 
sion for everything we want done. I suppose that is the only 
real justification for a democratic set-up — apart from other 
justifications. In a democracy, things are built on a firm 
foundation — even though it may take a longer time — and 
built with due consideration for the individual. However, 
that is not a point I wish to labour. What I want to say is 
that since we have accepted a democratic set-up and the 
way in which our Parliament functions, we must consider 
this Plan on a similar basis. We have framed a Constitution 
and we should abide by that Constitution. Nevertheless, 
let it not be said that every part, every chapter and every 
word of that Constitution is so sacrosanct that it cannot be 



82 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-195S 


changed even if the needs of the country or the nation so 
demand. If it is thought that some part of the Constitution 
comes in the way of the nation’s progress, it can undoubtedly 
be changed — not lightly but after full deliberation. But, 
generally speaking, we have to plan in accordance with that 
Constitution. 

Now, this Plan or rather its parent, the Draft Outline, 
was placed before the country and before this Parliament, 
a little over a year ago. At the time, it received general 
approval from Parliament and has, since then, been the 
subject of both approval and criticism and, in some parts 
of the country, of condemnation. Anyhow, the reaction to the 
Plan all over the country has been generally favourable. 
The Planning Commission has had the benefit of the criticism 
that was placed before them and, I must say, has profited 
even by the condemnation of certain parts of the Plan. I 
doubt if any other plan has ever been worked out in such 
close collaboration with various organizations, parties, 
States, opinions and viewpoints, in fact, with all the elements 
that go to make up a nation’s life. In that sense, therefore, 
it might be said to be the result of a whole nation’s efforts 
and not only the production of five or six people in the 
Planning Commission. It represents much more than just 
the opinions of the members of the Planning Commission. 
They had to deal with a very difficult problem. Of course, 
the country is big but, apart from its size, they had to deal 
with a complicated federal structure and with an economy 
which in many ways is very backward. They had to suffer 
the consequences of past acts committed by us and by others. 
They had to handle a kind of social consciousness which, 
though very desirable, is, nevertheless, new to the country. 
They had to keep in view the great ambition to progress 
rapidly, which we all share and, at the same time, to work 
with very limited resources to further that great ambition. 
They had and have to deal with a stormy period of history, 
a period of trial and crisis and change and to work with a 
sense of disaster round the corner. In India, often enough, 
we have to deal with a way of thinking which follows old 
ruts, sometimes with superstitions and with outlooks that 



ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY 


83 


stand in the way of progress. We have even had to deal with 
the reformer of yesterday who is, if I may say so with all 
respect, a conservative today and with the revolutionary of 
yesterday, who forgets that today is different from yesterday. 
So, the Planning Commission had to deal with a situation 
that was live and dynamic and for which no religious, 
economic or other dogma was adequate. 

We are dealing with India and not any other country. 
We should not try to reproduce conditions which obtain 
elsewhere. Of course, there are certain principles, certain 
ideals and objectives which hold not only for various 
countries but for various ages, too; they do not change. 
India herself has represented various principles of that type 
and I hope she will hold to them. At the same time, I 
earnestly hope and believe that she will give up ihe large 
number of superstitions and evil ways of old which have 
impeded her growth and which are even today used to 
divert people from a consideration of the essential things. 
Our plan for future progress must cope with the amalgam 
and variety we have in India. When I see these two heavy 
volumes of the Report of the Planning Commission, my 
mind conjures up the vision of something vast — the mighty 
theme of a nation building and re-making itself. We are, 
all of us, working together to make a new India — not 
abstractly for a nation but for the 360 million people 
who are wanting to progress as individuals and as 
groups. 

In fact, we are trying to catch up, as far as we can, with 
the Industrial Revolution that occurred long ago in Western 
countries and brought about great changes in the course of 
a century or more. That Revolution ultimately branched off 
in two directions which are, at present, represented by the 
high degree of technological development in the United 
States of America on the one hand and by the Soviet Union 
on the other. These two types of development, even though 
they might be in conflict, are branches of the same tree. The 
Industrial Revolution has a long history from which we can 
learn many lessons. We are apt to think in terms of European 
history when we consider India. I do not understand why 



84 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-195S 


we should repeat the errors of the past. We must make an 
effort to learn from the past. 

It is obvious that India must be industrialized as rapidly 
as possible. And industrialization includes, of course, all 
kinds of industry — major, middling, small, village and 
cottage. However rapid our industrialization may be, it 
cannot possibly absorb more than a small part of the popu- 
lation of this country in the next ten, twenty or even thirty 
years. Hundreds of millions will remain who have to be 
employed chiefly in agriculture. These people must, in 
addition, be given employment in smaller industries like 
cottage industries and so on. Hence, the importance of village 
and cottage industries. I think the argument one often hears 
about big industry versus cottage and village industry is 
misconceived. I have no doubt that we cannot raise the 
people’s level of existence without the development of major 
industries in this country; in fact, I will go further and say 
that we cannot even remain a free country without them. 
Certain things, like adequate defence, are essential to 
freedom and these cannot be had unless we develop industry 
in a major way. But we must always remember that the 
development of heavy industry does not by itself solve the 
problem of the millions in this country. We have to develop 
the village and cottage industry in a big way, at the same 
time making sure that in trying to develop industry, big and 
small, we do not forget the human factor. We are not merely 
out to get more money and more production. We ultimately 
want better human beings. We want our people to have 
greater opportunities, not only from an economic or material 
point of view but at other levels also. We have seen in other 
countries that economic growth by itself does not necessarily 
mean human growth or even national growth. We have to 
keep this in mind and also remember that the growth of a 
nation has little to do with the shouting to be heard in the 
market places and the stock exchanges of the country. So, 
an integrated plan for the economic growth of the country, 
for the growth of the individual, for greater opportunities 
for every individual and for the greater freedom of the country 
has to be drawn up and drawn up within the framework 



ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY 


85 


of political democracy. Political democracy will only 
justify itself if it ultimately succeeds in producing these 
results. If it does not, it will have to yield to some other kind 
of economic or social structure which we may or may not 
like. Ultimately, it is the results that decide the structure a 
country will adopt. When we talk of political democracy, 
we must remember that it no longer has the particular 
significance it had in the 19th century, for instance. If it is 
to have any meaning, political democracy must gradually 
or, if you like, rapidly lead to economic democracy. If there 
is economic inequality in the country, all the political 
democracy and all the adult suffrage in the world - annot 
bring about real democracy. Therefore, your objective must 
be to put an end to all differences between class and class, 
to bring about more equality and a more unitary society — 
in other words, to strive for economic democracy. We have 
to think in terms of ultimately developing into a classless 
society. That may still be a far-off ideal; I do not know. But 
we must, nevertheless, keep it in view. 

We, in this country, must not think of approaching our 
objectives through conflict and force. We have achieved 
many things by peaceful means and there is no reason why 
we should suddenly abandon that method and take to 
violence. There is a very special reason why we should not 
do so. 1 am quite convinced that, if we try to attain our 
ideals and objectives, however high they may be, by violent 
methods we shall delay matters greatly and help the growth 
of the very evils we are fighting. India is not only a big 
country but a country with a good deal of variety; and if 
anyone takes to the sword, he will inevitably be faced with 
the sword of someone else. This clash between swords will 
degenerate into fruitless violence and, in the process, the 
limited energies of the nation will be dissipated or, at any 
rate, greatly undermined. 

Now, the method of peaceful progress is ultimately the 
method of democratic progress. Keeping in mind the ultimate 
aim of democratic thought, it is not enough that we should 
simply give our votes and leave everything else to look after 
itself. The ultimate aim is economic democracy. The ultimate 

7—11 DFDJB5 



JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


aim is to put an end to the differences between the rich 
and the poor, between the people who have opportunities 
and those who have very few or none. Every obstacle in the 
way of that aim must be removed, whether it is in a friendly 
and co-operative way or by State pressure or by law. Nothing 
should be allowed to come between you and the achievement 
of that social objective. 

A plan of this type does not merely mean establishing 
a number of factories or increasing production in some 
instances. That, of course, is necessary but something with a 
deeper significance, something that aims at the gradual 
development of a particular structure of society has to be 
achieved. Of course, you and I cannot lay down what the 
next generation must do; nor can we predict what the next 
generation will be like. In these days of rapid technological 
advance, no man knows what the world will be like in the 
future. Because India is technologically backward, we 
sometimes discuss our big problems in a rather static way, 
forgetting that the very ground under our feet is always 
changing and may be slipping away. Unless we change 
with it, we may stumble or be left behind. The fact that 
technological advance has moved at an enormous pace 
since the Industrial Revolution is well known; even so, we 
are not emotionally aware of what is happening from day 
to day. It may well be that, in the course of the next ten or 
twenty years, this technological advance might change the 
whole aspect of the world and that will naturally have a 
tremendous effect on the life of human beings. It will affect 
their thinking, their economic structure, their social structure 
and ultimately their political structure also. Anything may 
happen. We cannot bind the future. We can only deal with 
facts as they are. 

I mention these broad factors, because I feel that our 
minds must have that dynamic quality, that quality of vision, 
that revolutionary quality which even our experts lack, 
not to speak of the average layman. For instance, our 
economists and our planners have become very static in their 
approach. We talk of revolutions, believing all the time that 
a revolution is merely a process in which you can break one 



ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY 


87 


another’s heads. That is not a revolution. Good or bad, a 
revolution is something that fundamentally changes the 
political and economic structure of the existing society. It is 
with this kind of background that we must consider this first 
attempt of ours at planning. 

Naturally, the Plan is not perfect. It is easy to pick holes 
in it. It is also easy to demonstrate how it is wrong here or 
inadequate elsewhere or to show that much more could have 
been done or said. But perfection is a big word and we do 
not presume to claim it. I have no doubt that the Planning 
Commission would like to profit by what has been said about 
the Plan. But I ask you to look at it in a wider conte' i than 
one of mere criticism. This is the first attempt in India to 
integrate the agricultural, industrial, social, ecouo-iic and 
other aspects of the counti\ into a single framework of 
thinking. It is a ver) important step and even if the thinking 
is partly faulty it does not detract from the magnitude of 
what has been attempted and accomplished It has made 
the whole country planning conscious. It has made people 
think of this country as a whole. I think it is most essential 
that India, which is united politically and in many other 
ways, should, to the same extent, be united mentally and 
emotionally also. We often go off at a tangent on grounds 
of provincialism, communalism, religion or caste. We have 
no emotional awareness of the unity of the country. Planning 
will help us in having an emotional awareness of our problems 
as a whole. It will help us to see the isolated problems in 
villages or districts or even provinces in their larger context. 
Therefore, the mere act of planning, the mere act of having 
approached the question of progress in this way and of 
producing a report of this type is something on which we 
might, I think, congratulate ourselves. 

When we talked about planning two or three years ago, 
powerful voices were raised against it. For some people, 
planning simply amounted to helping industry by tariffs or 
money or other means and then giving it a completely free 
hand. It is the essence of planning to have a broad idea of 
the kind of control that should be exercised over the economy 
of the country. This Plan deals with both the public sector 



88 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1 95S 


and the private sector. The House must remember — in 
fact, everybody should remember — that the private sector is 
also going to be a controlled sector. Of course, it will not be 
controlled to the same extent as the public sector; but it will, 
nevertheless, be increasingly controlled as time goes on. The 
control over the private sector will relate not only to its 
dividends and profits but will extend to all the strategic 
points in the economy of the country. This Report — rightly 
I think — is cautious about many matters. If you read it 
carefully, you will find that it has stated what can be done 
and what should be done. It has left the door open. Banking 
and insurance, for instance, are highly important in the 
economy of a country. Speaking from a strategic point of 
view, it is essential that they should be controlled in any 
economy. The Report does not deal with how this should 
be done, because the Planning Commission did not think 
it was justified in laying down directions about details. In the 
earlier chapters of this Report, however, the Planning 
Commission has pointed out the importance of banking and 
insurance and urged that steps be taken to control them so 
that they may be brought within the purview and sphere of 
a controlled economy. 

The method of working out a plan is ultimately the 
method of trial and error. The best of us can see only dimly 
into the future, if at all. We have to utilize our past 
experience. What makes the Plan complicated is that we 
have to deal not with measurable things like steel and cement 
but with 560 million human beings, each of whom is different 
from the other. All the statisticians and economists in the 
world cannot say what a multitude of individuals will or 
will not feel or do. The method of trial and error is the only 
one open to us. I have no doubt that when the time comes 
for a second Five Year Plan, we shall be in a far better 
position and on firmer ground, because we will have gone 
through the process of thinking and planning and benefited 
from its consequences. Our experience of trying to build 
according to this Plan will, in the future, stand us in good 
stead. The Second Plan, therefore, will be much more 
effective and far-reaching, because it will be based on actual 



ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY 


knowledge and experience derived, not from theory, but 
from practice. 

Although we still call this a Five Year Plan, two years of 
it are already over. Now, it is really a plan for the next 
three years or so. We started on the Plan with certain limita- 
tions, because we had to accept the existing conditions. 
We could not start from scratch. Our resources were already 
tied up in things that had been started earlier. Therefore, 
we had to utilize the balance of the resources as best as we 
could. 

The Five Year Plan will, therefore, be over in another 
three years. We must remember that this Plan is, ; t I may 
say so, essentially a prepaiatory venture for greater and 
more rapid progress in future. As I said, the Second Five 
Year Plan, if we build our foundations well, will proceed at a 
much faster rate of progress than is indicated in the present 
one. 

Theie is much talk of industrialization. In the initial 
chapters of the Plan, certain figures pertaining to the amounts 
allotted to industiy, agiiculture, social service, transport, 
etc., are given. In this respect, industry does not seem to 
occupy as important a place as agriculture. If I remember 
correctly, a very large sum is to be spent on irrigation. We 
certainly attach importance to industry; but in the present 
context we attach far greater importance to agriculture and 
food and matters pertaining to agriculture. If our agricultural 
foundation is not strong then the industry we seek to build 
will not have a strong basis either. Apart from that, the 
situation in the country today is such that, if our food front 
cracks up, everything else will crack up, too. Therefore, 
we dare not weaken our food front. If our agriculture becomes 
strongly entrenched, as we hope it will, then it will be rela- 
tively easy for us to progress more rapidly on the industrial 
front, whereas if we concentrate only on industrial 
development and leave agriculture in a weak condition we 
shall ultimately be weakening industry. That is why primary 
attention has been given to agriculture and food and that 
I think, is essential in a country like India at the present 
moment. 



90 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


However, certain basic and key industries have been 
given due consideration. The essential basis for the develop- 
ment of industry is power — electric power. The progress 
made by a country can be judged by the electric power it 
has. That is a good test for development in any country. 
Provision has been made for electric power in the various 
hydro-electric and multipurpose schemes in the Plan. 

I do not propose to cover these two big volumes in my 
preliminary remarks. I have no doubt that hon. Members 
mean to study them with great care and make their sugges- 
tions in the course of the debate. I would like to suggest, if 
I may, that the first four chapters — and a few others — in 
which the general approach, the principles and the objectives, 
which govern the Plan as well as the structure of the Plan 
are laid down, deserve more attention than the others and 
may profitably be studied with special care. The rest, though 
important, is the working out of details and no Parliament 
can sit down to work out details or priorities. A Parliament 
can only lay down the objectives and the general structure 
that has to be followed. 

I submit. Sir, that we should bear these general principles 
and objectives in mind, while we determine the methods. If 
I may say so, we have already determined the methods and 
are working according to them. Even so, I wish to make our 
conception of democracy perfectly clear. It is not limited to 
political democracy. We do not think that democracy, as is 
sometimes believed in other countries, means the economic 
doctrine of laissez-faire. That doctrine, although some people 
still talk of it, is almost as dead as the century which produced 
it — dead even in the countries where people talk about it 
most. It is totally unsuited to conditions in the world today. 
In any event, so far as we in India are concerned, we reject 
it completely. We are not going to have anything to do with 
it. That, however, does not mean that the State will take 
charge of everything. 

This Plan will account for two thousand odd crores of 
rupees — about several hundred crores above the amount 
provided for by the Draft Plan. There is a big gap between 
the estimate of our resources and the Rs. 2,000 crores. We 



ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY 


91- 


hope to be able to expand our resources. We may receive 
help from other countries. We have already done so to some 
extent. Some hon. Members have occasionally expressed 
their fear that this help from outside may impose restrictions 
on our freedom. It is perfectly true that such dependence 
involves a certain risk. If we depend on others to supply us 
with'weapons of war for our Army or to see to our economic 
advancement, we shall be weakening our position. I would 
rather that our advance was slower than that we became 
dependent on the aid of other countries. 

Provided we are strong enough ourselves, I really do not 
see why we should be afraid of accepting the kind of aid 
that helps us to progress more rapidly. With that aid we 
could do many things which we would have to postpone 
otherwise. Foreign aid involves a slight risk, not so much of 
being tied down as of compromising in a moral sense. There 
is no reason, however, why we should be afraid of accepting 
aid, if it does not influence our policy or oui activities in any 
way. 

Sir, it is late now and the subject is a comprehensive 
one. I intended my remarks to be a mere preamble to your 
consideration of this voluminous report. I have no doubt 
that in the course of this debate many points will be raised 
which will need to be dealt with by other Members, my 
colleagues and myself. 

I would like to impart to the House something of what 
I feel on this occasion. The re-making of our country is a 
great theme and we are engaged in a tremendous task which 
requires not only all our united effort but united effort with 
enthusiasm and the crusading spirit. If the House accepts 
this Report in the proper spirit, I have no doubt that the 
Plan, from being something on paper, will become a living 
thing for the country. If you go to your respective consti- 
tuencies with this message from this House and this 
Parliament, it may well be possible that we shall far exceed 
the expectations of the Planning Commission. 



LAYING THE FOUNDATIONS 


W ithin a few hours, this year will come to an end and 
we shall all step into the New Year. I should like to wish 
all of you, who listen to me tonight, as well as others, happiness 
for the New Year and the will to work and build up our 
country. Happiness and work are really wedded together, for 
there can be no true happiness without the feeling that one is 
doing something worth while. What can be more worth while 
for any of us than to participate in the building up anew of 
this ancient and ever young country? 

Three days ago, I was in Travancore-Cochin, the 
southern-most State of India, amidst some of the loveliest 
sceneries in the country'. In this State live a gifted people 
with higher educational standards than there are anywhere 
else in the country. It is a progressive State and I was happy 
to perform two important functions there: the first marked 
the construction of a new railway link joining the north and 
the south of the State and the other was the inauguration of 
a factory for processing monazite. I spent two unusual days 
in seclusion in a game sanctuary where wild animals live 
protected from civilized man. 

From that southern tip of India, I pictured this great 
country spread out before me right up to the Himalayas in 
the north and thought of her long and chequered story. 
Ours is a wonderful inheritance but how shall we keep it? 
How shall we serve the country which has given us so much 
and make her great and strong? 

When we look at the world around us, there is much to 
give us hope but there is also a great deal to fill us with 
dismay, for there is fear and hatred and violence and the talk 
of war, just when it would seem that the prize that the world 
has so long sought was almost within its grasp. We look at 
our own country and find both good and ill, powerful forces 
at work to build her and also forces which would disrupt 
and disintegrate her. We cannot do much to affect the destiny 
of this world as a whole but surely we can make a brave 
attempt to mould the destiny of our 360 million people. 

Broadcast from All India Radio, Delhi, December 31, 1952 



LAYING THE FOUNDATIONS 


93 


What then are we to do? What shall we aim at and what 
road shall we travel by? It is of the foremost importance that 
we should not lose ourselves in the passion and prejudice of 
the moment. If we are to aim high, we should adhere to the 
high principles which have always formed the background 
of Indian thought from the days of the Buddha to our own 
day when Gandhiji showed us the path to right action. 
Greatness .comes from vision, the tolerance of the spirit, 
compassion and an even temper which is not ruffled by ill 
fortune or good fortune. It is not through hatred and violence 
or .internal discord that we make real progress. As in the 
world today, so also in our own country, the philosophy of 
force can no longer pay and our progress must be based on 
peaceful co-operation and tolerance of each other. 

In India, the first essential is the maintenance oi the unity 
of the country, not merely a political unity but a unity of the 
mind and the heart, which precludes the narrow urges that 
make for disunity and which breaks down the barriers raised 
in the name of religion or those between State and State or, 
for that matter, any other barrier. Our economy and social 
structure have outlived their day and it has become a matter 
of urgent necessity for us to refashion them so that they may 
promote the happiness of all our people in things material 
and spiritual. We have to aim deliberately at a social philo- 
sophy which seeks a fundamental transformation of this 
structure, at a society which is not dominated by the urge 
for private profit and by individual greed and in which there 
is fair distribution of political and economic power. We 
must aim at a classless society, based on co-operative effort, 
with opportunities for all. To realize this we have to pursue 
peaceful methods in a democratic way. 

We live in an age of science. We hear and read of 
revolutions but the greatest revolutionary force in the past 
150 years has been science, which has transformed human 
life and has changed political, social and economic organi- 
zations. This process of change goes on at an ever-increasing 
pace and we have to understand it and adapt ourselves to it. 

I want to tell you about the Five Year Plan which the 
Planning Commission has produced after two and a half 



94 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


years of labour. Parliament has put its seal on it and now the 
time has come to implement it with all our strength. The 
Plan endeavours to embody the social philosophy to which 
I have referred. Democratic planning means the utilization 
of all our available resources and, in particular, the maximum 
quantity of labour willingly given and rightly directed so as 
to promote the good of the community and the individual. 

I cannot tell you much about this Plan in a few minutes 
and I should like you to study it or at least the summaries of 
it because it affects each one of you; and in a democratic 
society everyone should understand and help in fulfilling its 
tasks. The Plan, of course, embraces the entire country but 
it also deals separately with each part of it — the States as 
well as the smaller local areas. It also offers opportunities for 
voluntary organizations and workers to fulfil a vital and 
increasing role in national development. It has a public 
sector and a private sector, though the latter has necessarily 
to accept a measure of control, so that the objectives of the 
Plan may be secured. It endeavours to integrate various 
activities — agriculture, industry and social services. Agri- 
culture is bound to continue to be our principal activity. 
The greatest stress is laid upon it, because it is only on the 
basis of agricultural prosperity that we can make industrial 
progress. But agriculture has to be fitted into the larger 
economy of the nation. The growth of industry, big and 
small, is essential for any modern nation. Indeed, without 
industrial development, there cannot be any higher standard 
of living for our people or even enough strength in the nation 
for it to preserve its freedom. 

A proper land policy is essential for the progress of 
agriculture. We have gone some way towards achieving this 
by putting an end to the zamindari and jagirdari systems in 
many States. We must complete this task, eliminate all inter- 
mediaries and fix a limit for the size of holdings. We hope 
that the next step will be co-operative farming which will 
take advantage of the latest agricultural techniques. Greater 
production is essential, both in agriculture and industry, if we 
are to fight poverty and raise standards, as we must. 

We are a peaceful nation and our general policy as well as 



LAYING THE FOUNDATIONS 


95 


our economy is going to be based on the methods of peace 
and the avoidance of exploitation. We want to develop, 
therefore, a balanced economy and, as far as possible, 
promote self-sufficiency. We want to work more particularly 
for the expansion of the home market so that standards may 
go up. In the development of self-sufficiency and the provision 
of Work and employment, village and cottage industries arc 
of paramount importance. 

I shall mention a few of the targets we have laid down. 
The first one is that of food. We must become self-sufficient in 
food and not be dependent on other countries for our most 
essential requirements. The Plan will raise food production 
by nearly eight million tons. It is intended to provide irri- 
gation through new major works to more than eight million 
acres of land and through minor works to eleven million 
acres. Further, it is proposed to reclaim and develop more 
than seven million acres of land. You know about the great 
river valley schemes which, besides irrigation, will supply 
over a million kilowatts of power to industry. Power is the 
foundation of all developments today. We have attached 
great importance to minor works of irrigation as they yield 
quicker and more widespread results. 

Cotton production will be raised by over 12 lakh bales 
and jute by 20 lakh bales. It is proposed to increase the 
production of hand-loom cotton textiles from 800 to 1,700 
million yards. In steel and cement, there will be substantial 
increases in production. At Sindri, we have already a large 
fertilizer factory and a locomotive workshop at Chittaranjan. 
We are setting up a new steel plant, a machine tool factory 
and a plant for the manufacture of heavy electrical equip- 
ment. Air transport is being nationalized and a modern 
ship-building industry developed. 

You know about the many community centres that have 
been stai ted all over the country. We attach great importance 
to these, for they attempt to train our men and women in 
rural areas in co-operative effort for the good of the commu- 
nity. Here, even more than elsewhere, there is room for 
voluntary effort. 

Our ideals are high and our objectives great Compared 



96 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


with them, the Five Year Plan appears to be a modest 
beginning. But let us remember that this is the first great 
effort of its kind and that it is based on the realities of today 
and not on our wishes. It must, therefore, be related to our 
present resources or else it will remain unreal. It is designed 
to be the foundation of a bigger and better plan of progress 
in the future. Let us lay the foundations well and the rest 
will inevitably follow. The Plan is not based on any dogmatic 
or doctrinaire approach to our problems; nor is it rigid. 

There is scope for advance and variation in it where 
necessary. As we learn from experience, we shall improve it. 
It is a dynamic plan for a dynamic nation determined to 
go ahead and stand on its feet and to bring about a new 
social order free from exploitation, poverty, unemployment 
and injustice. It is a step towards the establishment of a 
society which gives security to the individual and offers 
employment and encouragement to creative activity and 
adventure. If we accept it in the proper spirit and act upon 
it, (lie Plan will prove a great liberating force for the energies 
of the nation. 

The Plan is a big one embracing innumerable activities 
in the country. But far bigger is the vision which draws us 
forward, a vision inspired by courage and hope and reasoned 
optimism. Let us have faith in our country and ourselves. 
Above all, the Plan is a programme of work. Let us work, 
therefore, and give up for a while empty destructive criticism. 
Let us all become partners in this great enterprise of building 
a new India. 


THE NEW ROLE OF KHADI 

I have the greatest pleasure in inaugurating the first meeting 
of the newly constituted Khadi and Village Industries 
Board. I believe that the development of khadi and village 

Translated from speech in Hindi at the inauguration of the Khadi and 
Village Industries Board, New Delhi, February 2, 195S 



THE NEW ROLE OF KHADI 


97 


industries in India is of paramount importance, not only to 
the unemployment problem in the country but to the advance- 
ment of die nation as a whole. 

However much we might develop our big industries, 
there is still considerable scope for the expansion of village 
industries in a country like India. The question is one of 
co-ordinating the small industries in the over-all economy of 
the country. We are all anxious to develop khadi and other 
small industries, not for the sake of a ‘show’ or for any exhi- 
bitionist reasons but because we want to achieve concrete 
results. No modern nation, however, can retain its freedom 
without the help of large-scale industries which should be 
State-owned and State-controlled. 

We sincerely believe that small industries can help 
considciably in the economic advancement of the nation. 
As you know, unemployment presents our most difficult 
problem today and the development of village industries 
could certainly play a prominent role in solving it. Indeed, 
the Welfare State has no meaning unless every individual is 
employed and takes part in nation-building activities. I do 
not think there will be any conflict between big industry and 
village industry, provided there is proper co-operation. 

I have heard complaints that the Government has not 
given adequate help to the khadi and village industries. If 
these industries depend for their development and existence 
solely on Government help and have no inherent strength 
or vitality of their own, they cannot survive for long. It is for 
the workers employed in the khadi and village industries to 
think seriously about this problem and its psychological 
aspect. 

Gandhiji laid particular emphasis on the charkha, khadi 
and village industries. He made the charkha an economic 
and revolutionary symbol for the people. There was a time 
in the days of our struggle for independence, when the 
revolutionary aspect of the khadi industry far outweighed 
its economic aspect. Obviously, we cannot develop the khadi 
industry today by emphasizing its revolutionary character. 
It can only become a force in society if we develop its 
economic character. I would like to stress the fact that this 



98 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-195S 


can only be done if we approach the khadi and village 
industries in a new way and recognize the fact, too, that 
they must now develop under the impetus of their own 
strength and not cling too much to help from the 
Government. 

I should, however, like to warn the khadi workers that 
they must not become dogmatic. They should for ever keep 
an open mind and be receptive to modern ideas. With a new 
approach and outlook, they could revitalize and regenerate 
the entire industry. Even the khadi and village workers will 
have to adjust themselves to this fast changing world and 
consider how best they can use new technical and scientific 
methods in developing their industries. 

I would advise the various khadi and small industry 
organizations not to feel helpless and not to blame the 
Government for the static position of the industries. No 
organization with such an outlook can ever forge ahead. 
The faults of others are always there to criticize but we must 
look to our own first. 

It has been suggested that khadi be used by the Army 
and in government offices. I wonder whether khadi can be 
of much practical use to a soldier who has to crawl on the 
ground or make his way through thick jungles. Some State 
Governments have objected to adopting khadi on the ground 
that it would increase their expenditure. As I have already 
stated, there cannot be much progress if these industries 
depend entirely on government assistance. 

However, on behalf of the Government, I pledge my 
fullest support to the Board in its task of developing khadi 
and village industries in the country. Such a Board should 
have been set up four years ago. Although I am surprised at 
the delay, I am glad that at least a beginning has been made. 
When the Board was about to be constituted, some of my 
friends suggested that I, in my capacity of Prime Minister, 
should be closely associated with it. I approved of the idea 
but I was told that there were certain rules and regulations 
forbidding the Prime Minister to have personal association 
with such organizations and institutions and in any case the 
inclusion of the Prime Minister in such a Board would have 



THE NEW ROLE OF KHADI 


99 


had only publicity value. I, therefore, wrote to the sponsors 
that I would not like to be directly associated but that I 
would give it all the help I possibly could. 



ON KASHMIR 


LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE 

T he House will remember that a few days ago I made a 
fairly lengthy statement in this House about the affairs of 
Jammu and Kashmir State. I do not propose to weary the 
House by a repetition of what I said then. But at this stage, 
I should like to emphasize certain aspects of this problem. 

For the last five years nearly, the Kashmir problem has 
been one of the heaviest burdens that the Government has 
had to carry. It has been a heavy burden because it was a 
complicated affair and one in which our saying ‘aye’ or ‘nay’ 
was not quite enough. Other factors were involved. There 
are many things in this world which we would like to change 
but we cannot shape the world to our will. We live, as the 
House well knows, on the eve of what appears to be a tragedy 
in the world and we try — when I say ‘we’ I do not mean we 
in this House but people all over the world — to avert the 
tragedy and somehow to assure peace for this world. But 
nobody can control events completely. Of course, one tries 
to mould them to certain extent, tries to affect them in some 
way; but what the ultimate resultant of the various forces 
and passions and prejudices at work. is likely to be, no man 
knows. The misfortune of the State of Jammu and Kashmir 
and our misfortune have become a part — perhaps a small 
part but, nevertheless, a part — of the larger picture of the 
world. And therefore the difficulties in our way have 
increased greatly. It is an international problem and would 
have been an international problem anyhow if it concerned 
any other nation besides India — and it docs. Its international 
character was further emphasized because a large number of 
other countries took an interest in the problem and gave 
advice. 


Speech in the House of the People, New Delhi, August 7, 1952 



LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE 


Ml 


Well, we have tried to fashion our actions in regard to 
this problem according to what we considered to be our 
obligations and responsibilities. What were those obligations 
and responsibilities? The first was to protect and safeguard 
the territory of India from every invasion. That is the primary 
responsibility of the State. Secondly, it was our duty to 
honoiir the pledge we gave to the people of Jammu and 
Kashmir State. And that pledge was a two-fold pledge. We 
were obliged to protect them from invasion and rape and 
loot and arson and everything that accompanied that 
invasion. That was the first part of the pledge. The second 
part of the pledge was given by us unilaterally and wa to the 
effect that it would be for the people to decide finally what 
their future was to be. The third was to honour the assurances 
we gave to the United Nations and the fourth was to work 
for a peaceful settlement. That was not a pledge we had given 
to anybody but one that was implied in the policy we had 
tried to pursue right from the beginning. It is in the nature of 
things that we should pursue a policy of peace, since we are 
wedded to the ideals of peace. Apart fiom that, it was neces- 
sary that we should do so because the world in which we live 
appears to be on the edge of a precipice and one has to be very 
careful in taking any step which might, perhaps, cause the 
world to tumble over that precipice. 

So, these were the four major considerations that we had 
to keep in view and sometimes it was difficult to balance 
them. Sometimes they seemed to lead in different directions. 
It would have been an easy matter if all these factors had led 
us to the same conclusion. But since they pulled in different 
directions, our obligations and responsibilities lead us to 
think not only of one line of action but of several. Then, 
difficulties arose. Well, we have faced these difficulties and 
we have sometimes had a hard time deciding what we 
should do and what we should not do. I should like the 
House, therefore, to think in terms of balancing these very 
important assurances, pledges and the other factors in the 
situation. 

In the course of these years, I have repeatedly placed the 
situation before this House and it is with the concurrence and 

* — ii Drops 



102 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-195S 


support of this House that we have continued to pursue the 
policy that we have pursued. It has been my belief that, in 
this matter more than in others, the great majority of the 
people of this country have approved of our policy. We have 
had evidence of this approval from time to time in this House 
and in the House that preceded it. We have received advice 
from innumerable people, friends and critics in this country 
and we have always welcomed that advice, even though some 
of it did not appear to be feasible or right. We have also 
received advice from innumerable people outside this country. 
We welcome their advice, too, when it is friendly advice. 
We do not welcome it when it comes from unfriendly minds 
or is accompanied by threats or any hint of threats. 

We took this matter to the United Nations four years and 
eight months ago, in the belief that thereby we were serving 
the cause of peace and in the hope that we would settle the 
question of Kashmir by means of an agreement. We have not 
settled it yet, in spite of the labours of the United Nations and 
its various organs. I would like to repeat what I said on the 
last occasion in this House when I paid a tribute to Dr Frank 
Graham, who has shown enormous patience and enormous 
perseverance in his pursuit of a peaceful settlement. So far as 
we are concerned, we shall help him to the end, even though 
people may get tired of our pursuing the same path. Peace is 
always an ideal worth pursuing, however tired we may get in 
the process. Many of our colleagues and friends in the country 
have perhaps got weary of this process and I can very well 
understand their weariness; but their weariness can hardly 
compare with the weariness of those who are in charge of the 
Kashmir affair. Day after day, week after week, month after 
month, we have had to carry this heavy burden. However 
weary we may have become, we dare not act in a hurry, we 
dare not act in anger, we dare not allow ourselves to be led 
by passion. The consequences of acting in passion are always 
bad for an individual; but they are infinitely worse for a 
nation. Therefore, we have restrained ourselves. We have 
restrained ourselves even when loud cries of war and loud 
threats havt reached us from across the border. We restrained 
ourselves and I am glad to say that, generally speaking, our 



LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE 


10S 


people and the press in this country also restrained them- 
selves. I have great sympathy and understanding for those 
who sometimes felt that we should do something more active 
and throw off restraint: but I was sure then and I am sure 
now that it would have been utterly wrong to do so. I am not 
referring to any minor step here and there but rather to the 
major trend of the policy that we pursued. We must keep 
these four major obligations in our minds as we have done in 
the past, even though we have put the matter before the 
United Nations. Some friends have advised us to withdraw 
it from the United Nations. I am not quite sure if thev have 
studied this subject or considered how it is possible •> with- 
draw this or any such matter from the United Natioi s, unless, 
of course, we withdraw oursehcs from the United Nations. 
The United Nations concerned itself with this matter at our 
instance. And, in any case, if we had not brought the matter 
to the United Nations, others might have done so. If we say, 
‘we withdraw from the United Nations,’ wc shall only be 
showing impatience and temper without achieving the results 
that some people hope we will. Therefore, the question of 
withdrawal from the United Nations does not arise, unless, of 
course, this House wishes that the Government of India and 
the Union of India itself should withdraw from the United 
Nations. In the latter case, the House must be prepared to 
face all the consequences of such an action. I presume that 
the House does not wish this, just as I do not wish it. 

I have ventured, in all humility, sometimes to criticize 
those developments at the United Nations which seemed to 
me to be out of keeping with its Charter and its past record 
and professions. Nevertheless, I have believed and I do 
believe that the United Nations, in spite of its many faults, 
in spite of its having deviated from its aims somewhat, is, 
nevertheless, a basic and fundamental thing in the structure 
of the world today. Not to have it or to do away with it would 
be a tragedy for the world. Therefore, I do not wish this 
country of ours to do anything which weakens the gradual 
development of some kind of a world structure. It may be 
that the real world structure will not come in our lifetime but 
unless that world structure comes, there is no hope for this 



104 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


world, because the only alternative is world conflict on a 
prodigious and tremendous scale. Therefore, it would be 
wrong for us to do anything that weakens the beginnings of 
a world structure, even though we may disagree with this 
particular organization and even though we may sometimes 
criticize it, as we have done. It is mainly for these reasons -that 
I fail to understand this cry about our withdrawing the 
Kashmir dispute from the United Nations. It is not like 
withdrawing a case from one law court and taking it to 
another. The United Nations is not to be considered merely 
a forum dealing with the Kashmir question. The question 
is before the nations of the world, whether they are united or 
not and whether they are a forum or not. It is an international 
matter and a matter which is in the minds of millions of men. 
How can you withdraw it from the minds of millions of men? 
Surely not by a legal withdrawal. The question does not 
arise. We have to face the world; we have to face our people; 
we have to face facts and we have to solve problems. 

Some friends seem to imagine the easiest way to solve 
the question is to have an exhibition of armed might. They 
say, ‘Let us march our armies.’ That can never be a solution 
in this case or in any other case. The more 1 live and the 
more I grow in experience, the more convinced I become of 
the futility and the wickedness of war as a means of solving 
a problem. I consider it my misfortune that we even have to 
spend money on armaments and that we have to keep 
an army, a navy and an air force. In the world as it is consti- 
tuted today, one is compelled to take those precautions. Any 
person in a position of responsibility must take these 
precautions and if we take them, we have to take them 
adequately and effectively. Accordingly, we must keep a fine 
army, a fine navy and a fine air force. That is so. But to think 
in terms of throwing our brave men into warfare is not 
something I indulge in, unless circumstances force my hands 
as they forced my hands on a late evening in October 1947. 
It was only after the most painful thought and consultation 
that I decided upon our course of action. If I may say so in 
all humility and without sacrilege, I did so after consulting 
the Father of the Nation. 



LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE 


105 


People say, ‘A part of the territory of India has been 
invaded. It is held by the enemy. What are we doing to 
defend that territory of India? We have failed in our 
defence.’ Such statements would be perfectly justified; such 
criticism of the Government would be legitimate to some 
extent. It was and is our duty to push out the enemy from 
every invaded part of the territory of India. That is where the 
conflict between obligations and responsibilities really begins. 

As the House knows, we decided right at the beginning 
that we were agreeable to a plebiscite in which all the people 
of Jammu and Kashmir State would take part. It was a 
curious thing that in spite of having so decided, this war 
should have continued. The war continued for fourteen 
months or so — from the end of October 1947 to the end of 
1948. It was for us to decide at the end of 1948 or the 
beginning of 1949, whether we should carry this war on to 
the bitter end and thereby recover the lost territory or 
whether we should call a halt to active military operations 
and try some other and more peaceful method. We decided 
and, conditioned as we were, I submit we decided rightly to 
put an end to active military operations and try other 
methods. These other methods have not brought a solution in 
their train thus far. And yet, I think it would be right to say 
that the mere fact that an extraordinarily explosive situation, 
such as the one that has existed in the State of Jammu and 
Kashmir for the last few years, has been controlled is itself 
no small achievement. We see in other parts of the world 
how other countries have got more and more entangled in 
all kinds of morasses and how the path of war becomes more 
and more difficult. We had the courage -and, I say in all 
humility, the wisdom to pull ourselves out of continuing an 
unending war before it was too late, so that we might think 
more calmly, more patiently, more wisely. Whether it has 
yielded any result yet or not, the fact remains that we have 
not been having a war for the last three and a half years 
or so. This is not a bad result, although it may not be a 
satisfactory solution. 

Later, we declared that any further aggression or attack — 
I say ’any further’ because there had been aggression and 



106 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


aggression was continuing — or military operations in regard 
to Kashmir would mean an all-out war not only in Kashmir 
but elsewhere, too. That decision was not lightly taken but 
after serious thought and careful consultation. We said it 
knowing full well the consequences of what we said. We had 
weighed the consequences and yet had come to that 
conclusion. It was no threat but the statement of what was, to 
our minds, an absolute fact. There could be no further attack 
on Kashmir without this matter becoming a major war so 
far as India was concerned. Having made that perfectly clear, 
I think we succeeded in preventing many an attack that 
might have taken place in the hope that the aggressors would 
get away with it. 

Two or three basic things follow from this. One is that, in 
so far as the United Nations is concerned, we shall continue 
unless this House decides to the contrary, to deal with it in 
the manner in which we have done in the past. We have 
tried our utmost to achieve a peaceful settlement without 
giving in on any vital point or trying to evade any of our 
responsibilities or obligations. We have resolved not to 
dishonour the pledges we have given to the people of Kashmir 
or to the people of India and, therefore, we shall pursue our 
policy accordingly. 

The House is aware that we accepted certain resolutions 
of the United Nations and of the UN Commission that came 
here. We accepted them, not because we iiked everything 
about them but because in our earnest desire for a peaceful 
settlement, we were willing to go to great lengths. Neverthe- 
less, we made it perfectly clear that we would not by-pass 
the pledges we had given or the responsibilities we had 
undertaken. At a much later stage, another resolution was 
passed by the Security Council which tried to impose an 
arbitration on us. We rejected that resolution or that part of 
it which was objectionable to us. It was one thing for us to 
agree to a certain proposal after having weighed all the 
consequences but we could not possibly give up our 
responsibilities, pledges and assurances; we could not put 
the matter in the hands of somebody else, whoever he might 
be. We could never do that because we had our own duties 



LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE 


107 


and obligations to consider. How could we hang the faith of 
the four million people of Jammu and Kashmir State on the 
decision of an arbitrator? Great political questions — and 
this was a great political question — are not handed over in 
this way to arbitrators from foreign countries. That is why 
we had to reject this particular resolution of the United 
Nations. We stand by that rejection and are not going to 
agree to anything which prevents us from honouring the 
pledges or the assurances we have given. 

Subject to that, we shall go all out to seek a peaceful 
settlement. Among the assurances and pledges that we have 
given is the pledge which was implied in our policy, namely, 
that the people of Jammu and Kashmir State would decide 
their future. Let me be quite clear about this. There still 
seems to be a good deal of misunderstanding about Kashmir’s 
accession to India. The other day, I said in this House that 
this accession was complete in law and in fact. Some people 
and some newspapers, mostly newspapers abroad, seem to 
think that it is only something that has happened in the last 
week or fortnight or three weeks that has made this accession 
complete. According to my views, this accession was complete 
in law and in fact in October 1947. It is patent and no 
argument is required, because every accession of every State 
in India was complete on these very terms by September in 
that year or a little later. All the States acceded in three 
basic subjects, namely, foreign affairs, communications and 
defence. Can anybody say that the accession of any State in 
India was incomplete simply because they acceded in only 
those three subjects? Of course not. It was a complete 
accession in law and in fact. So was the accession of the 
Jammu and Kashmir State, in law and in fact, by the end of 
October. It is not open to doubt or challenge. I am surprised 
that anybody here or elsewhere in the world should challenge 
it. I was telling the House that when the first United Nations 
Commission, accompanied by their legal advisers and others 
came here, it was open to them to challenge it. But they did 
not, because it was quite clear to them and to their legal 
advisers that there could be no question about the legal 
validity of the accession. So, while the accession was complete 



108 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


in law and in fact, the other fact which has nothing to do 
with law also remains, namely, our pledge to the people of 
Kashmir — if you like, to the people of the world — that this 
matter can be affirmed- again or cancelled by the people of 
Kashmir according to their wishes. We do not want to win 
people against their will and with the help of armed force; 
and, if the people of Jammu and Kashmir State wish to part 
company with us, they can go their way and we shall go ours. 
We want no forced marriages, no forced unions. I hope this 
great Republic of India is a free, voluntary, friendly and 
affectionate union of the States of India. The people of 
Jammu and Kashmir State not only agreed to come to us 
as they did but it was at their request that we took them into 
our large family of States. I do believe that they have the same 
friendly feelings towards us as the other States have. I believe 
that on repeated occasions they have given evidence of this 
fact. Even in the election of this Constituent Assembly that 
took place nearly a year ago, they exhibited that feeling of 
friendship and union with India. I am personally convinced 
that if at any time some other method of ascertaining their 
feelings is decided upon, they will decide in the same way. 
But that is my personal opinion; it may not be your opinion 
or the House's opinion. The fact, however, remains that we 
have said to them and to the world that we will give them a 
chance to decide. We propose to stand by their ultimate 
decision in this matter. Within the limits of these assurances 
and pledges, we shall continue to pursue the policy that we 
have decided upon. 

A short while ago, we met the representatives of the 
Government of Kashmir and they were not merely the 
representatives of the Government but, undoubtedly, the 
popular leaders of the people of Kashmir. We met them, we 
talked to them and we discussed many matters with them. 
We did not go to them in a bargaining spirit or. in a spirit of 
opposition. We discussed matters with them, with a view to 
solving our intricate problems, with a view to unravelling the 
knots and with a view to finding some way which would fit 
in with the various assurances that we had exchanged and 
with the policies they stood for and we stood for. Many of 



OUR PLEDGE TO KASHMIR 


109 


these policies were, of course, common to both. I placed the 
agreements we arrived at before this House on the last 
occasion. It is obvious that these agreements are not a final 
solution. Much has still to be done; much has to be thought 
out. But two or three facts remain. One is that, in the nature 
of things at the present moment, it is necessary to consider the 
case of Jammu and Kashmir State on a somewhat different 
footing from the other States in India. This is inevitable 
because Kashmir has become an international issue in the last 
few years. A different footing does not mean any special right 
or privilege except in the sense that it may mean a greater 
measure of internal autonomy. It is a developing, dvnamic 
situation. One may gradually change it more and more but 
it is not right for us under the existing circumstances to try to 
do something by mental coercion or by pressure of some other 
kind. That would defeat our object and that would, indeed, 
be playing into the hands of those who criticize us. 


OUR PLEDGE TO KASHMIR 

I must express my gratitude to the many hon. Members 
who, in the course of this debate, have spoken generously 
about the policy that the Government has pursued in regard 
to the State of Jammu and Kashmir. While we have had an 
abundance of generous acknowledgement of our policy, we 
have had criticism also. I welcome the latter, because it is 
always helpful in understanding a particular position. In 
this very difficult and delicate matter, criticism will be 
especially helpful, because the more aspects we examine the 
more light will be thrown upon the problem. 

We have dealt with this matter for nearly five years now. 
We have fought on the battlefield for over a year and many of 


Speech in the House of the People, New Delhi, August 7, 1952 



no 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-195* 


our brave young men have gone to Kashmir and remained 
there. We have fought this fight in many a Chancellery of 
the World and in the United Nations; but above all, we have 
fought this fight in human hearts — the hearts of the men 
and women of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. With all 
deference to this Parliament, I would like to say that the 
ultimate decision will be made in the minds and hearts of the 
men and women of Kashmir and not in this Parliament or 
at the United Nations. We have dealt with the problem of 
Kashmir in a variety of ways in various fields of action. We 
have not, however, solved it, although we have made progress 
in a particular direction. I want to be perfectly frank with 
this House and promise no speedy solution. Why should I 
make promises which I might not be able to keep? And 
may I remind this House that there are numerous problems 
today, big problems, affecting the world’s future which 
remain unsolved, which drag on from month to month and 
year to year without solution? One has to be thankful if 
these problems do not grow worse. That itself is supposed to 
be a great mercy and a blessing. It is all very well for people 
in foreign countries to say, ‘Why don’t you solve this question 
of Kashmir? It may lead to big things, perhaps, to a world 
conflict.’ Many people in foreign countries are generous with 
their advice. One feels tempted to tell them that they also 
have vital problems to solve, whether it is in the Far East or 
in Europe or elsewhere and that their problems also some- 
how drag on from year to year. Why do they not find a 
solution to these before offering advice to us? How is it that 
we are at fault because we cannot solve the question of 
Kashmir while they, who censure us, are above reproach, 
though they fail to solve their problems? Not only do their 
problems remain unsolved but preparations are also made to 
create problems for the future. Anyhow, this would be a 
cheap reply for us to make to them, because we are all in 
difficulties; we are all struggling against things which, perhaps, 
are not entirely within the control of any one country or any 
one people. 

I should like this House to continue to consider this 
problem as it has been considered in the past, that is, in all 



OUR PLEDGE TO KASHMIR 


111 


its aspects, forgetting for the moment the minor things, the 
lawyer’s points if 1 may so call them with all respect to 
lawyers. The latter certainly have their place, provided they 
keep it. My honourable friend, Dr Mookerjee, has said a 
great deal about this clause and that clause. If I have the 
■time I shall deal with the points he has raised but it is of 
iittle importance what this clause or that clause says. What 
is important is the way you approach the problem and its 
fundamental basis. It is also important what your objective 
really is and how you propose to gain it. If it is your objective 
— as I shall claim it should be, for there can be no other — 
that this problem must be decided by the people of Kashmir 
then you must adopt a policy by which that end can be 
gained. Why issue threats? Why talk to them and tell them 
they must do this or must not do that? I am called a 
Kashmiri in the sense that ten generations ago my people 
came down from Kashmir to India. That is not the bond I 
have in mind when I think of Kashmir but other bonds 
which have tied us much closer. These bonds have grown 
much more in the last five years or so. When I talk of my 
ties with Kashmir, I am only a symbol of the vast number of 
people in India who have been bound together with Kashmir 
in these five years of conflict against a common adversary. 
First of all, let me say clearly that we accept the basic 
proposition that the future of Kashmir is going to be decided 
finally by the goodwill and pleasure of her people. The 
goodwill and pleasure of this Parliament is of no importance 
in this matter, not because this Parliament does not have 
the strength to decide the question of Kashmir but because 
any kind of imposition would be against the principles that 
the Parliament upholds. 

Having come to the conclusion that the future of Jammu 
and Kashmir State can ultimately be decided only by the 
people of Jammu and Kashmir, let us fashion our other 
policies accordingly and let us not find fault with every little 
thing because it does not fit in with our wishes. Manv things 
have happened in Jammu and Kashmir which I do not 
approve of; but there it is. I have no doubt many things have 
happened and will happen that neither my honourable 



112 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


friend on the Opposite side of the House nor I will approve 
of, just as many things happen in the rest of India that I do 
not approve of. I do not control everything that happens in 
India. But what is our approach going to be? Whatever it 
is, we must not do anything which will counter it or under- 
mine it or uproot it and which will encourage the hands of 
those who aie opposed to us — our enemies. That is the basic 
thing which we must understand. Let us be clear about it. 
You can criticize Sheikh Abdullah. Sheikh Abdullah is no 
god. He commits many errors and will commit many more. 
He is a brave man and a great leader of his people. That is a 
big enough thing. He has led his people through weal and 
woe and he has led them when they were facing grave 
disaster. He did not shrink from leadership at that time — 
that is a big enough thing to be said about any man. If he 
has failings, if he has made a mistake here and there, if he has 
delivered a speech which we do not like, what of that? 
Bigness is bigness in spite of a hundred mistakes. And in any 
case, the question is not whether we like Sheikh Abdullah 
or not. It is a bigger matter than any individual. 

The question of Kashmir, as this House well knows, 
certainly has not been for us a question of territory. Finan- 
cially, we gain nothing from it. On the contrary, it may cost 
us a good deal until the State ultimately develops; and it is 
bound to develop because it is rich in resources. Nevertheless, 
we have not cast covetous eyes upon Kashmir or hoped for 
any gain. We have cast eyes on Kashmir because of old 
bonds, because of old sentiments and new sentiments also 
Kashmir is very close to our minds and hearts and if by 
some decree or adverse fortune Kashmir ceases to be a part 
of India, it will be a wrench and a pain and torment for us. 
If, however, the people of Kashmir do not wish to remain 
with us, let them go by all means; we will not keep them 
against their will, however painful it may be to us. That is the 
policy that India will pursue and it is precisely because 
India stands for such a policy that people will not leave her. 
People will cleave to her and come to her. Our strongest 
bonds with Kashmir are not those that are retained by our 
Army or even by our Constitution to which so much reference 



OUR PLEDGE TO KASHMIR US 

has been made but those of love and affection and under- 
standing and they are stronger than the Constitution or laws 
or armies. 

Many of the arguments that some hon. Members of the 
Opposition have advanced seem to me to be inapplicable. 
It is easy to criticize many things that have happened in 
Kashmir. It is natural that one should want to better certain 
things but that is a different matter altogether. The question 
is whether in doing so you are coming nearer your aim or 
being an obstacle in the way of your very objective. The 
hon. Member who spoke last is a representative — much 
more so than I am — of a minority community of Srinagar, 
the Kashmiri pandits. He gave you a graphic account of the 
days when everybody in the Valley of Kashmir — Muslim 
or Hindu but more especially the Hindus and the Sikhs — 
lived in terror of what the morrow might bring. Nobody 
knew what would happen or, perhaps, they knew too well. 
The people of Kashmir, especially the women of Kashmir, 
have a great reputation outside Kashmir also. The women of 
Kashmir, both Hindu and Muslim, were taken away in 
considerable number by the raiders and others, sometimes 
as far as Afghanistan and even beyond. There are cases where 
these women were sold for a mere pittance. Hon. Members 
should try to understand how these stories and these accounts 
must have affected the people of Kashmir, how they must 
have lived in fear lest their own mothers, sisters and wives 
should suffer a similar fate on the morrow. It must be 
recognized that the people of Kashmir have lived through 
fire and have faced it; they did not run away from it. 

Looking back at these five years, I think that the people 
of Kashmir, the people of India and, if I may say so with all 
humility, the Government of India have stuck to the right 
path in spite of numerous small mistakes that they may have 
made. We have pursued the policy we considered right even 
when it appeared most inopportune; sometimes our attitude 
displeased certain people; sometimes a little swerving to the 
right or to the left would have gained us an advantage in 
foreign countries — and foreign countries had begun to count 
for us. It did not matter much what we thought of them; 



114 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-195S 


but there they were, sitting in the Security Council and 
talking a great deal. Sometimes they talked sense; at others 
they did not. We had to put up with their attempts to judge 
us and to judge something which was so important to us. 
Kashmir was not important to us because of any territorial 
designs on our part as somebody suggested but for the other 
reasons that I have mentioned. People in other countries 
thought of Kashmir merely as a geographical unit. It was 
only a plaything for them while it was very much in our 
hearts. Our history and our circumstances had made 
Kashmir so closely associated with our feelings, emotions, 
thoughts and passions that it was a part of our beings. 
Certain foreign countries tried to deal with the Kashmir 
question in a casual way and talked of India’s imperialism 
and her territorial designs. We restrained ourselves but 
very often there was anger in our hearts — anger at this 
intolerant criticism, at the presumptuous way in which 
people talked to us, to this great country of India. They 
had the audacity to talk of imperialism to us when they 
were imperialists themselves and were carrying on their own 
wars and themselves preparing for future wars. Just because 
India tried to protect Kashmir from territorial invasion, 
people had the temerity to talk of India’s imperialism! 

Well, as I said, we restrained ourselves and we shall still 
endeavour to restrain ourselves in future but restraint does 
not mean weakness. It does not mean giving in. We were 
firm and convinced of the rightness of our position because, 
as I said — and I said it in all honesty — I have searched my 
heart and looked into every single step I have taken in the 
matter of Kashmir but cannot find that any of the major 
steps we have taken has been wrong. Although it is my 
Government that is ultimately responsible for the part 
India has played, I have been personally concerned with every 
single step taken during the last five years. Of course, in 
retrospect, there are things that I could have done differently 
— some minor things — but I do not see how any major step 
we have taken could have been taken in a way other than 
in which it was done. When we sent our young men flying 
over the mountains to Kashmir at the end of October 1947, 



OUR PLEDGE TO KASHMIR 


115 


there may have been a miscalculation; but it was 
fundamentally a right step demanded by circumstances. 
We may have erred sometimes because we were anxious to 
preserve peace and to avoid war at all costs; but I would 
always like to err in that way. For people to accuse us of 
avarice or covetousness, of imperialism, of breaking our word 
and pledge, is grossly unfair. I have said before and I repeat 
that every single step we have taken has had conviction 
behind it, every single word or pledge we have given to the 
United Nations or to the United Nations Commission or 
to anybody else who has come here has been kept to the 
letter and every single assurance has been carried out. All 
this is much more than can be said for Pakistan in this matter, 
because the entire Kashmir business is based on a 
fundamental lie — the lie Pakistan has told in denying that 
she invaded Kashmir. If Pakistan wants Kashmir, let her 
go there and fight. But why lie about it? The armies of 
Pakistan were in Kashmir for six months and then they 
denied the whole thing. When you base a case on a lie, the 
lie has to be repeated; and it was repeated in the Security 
Council month after month. Their armies were still in 
Kashmir and their Foreign Minister went on saying that 
they were not there. That was an astonishing thing. When 
the United Nations Commission was here and was on the 
point of going to the front and when there was no possibility 
of concealing this fact any longer, they admitted it. They 
had to admit it and a statement was submitted by the 
Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistan army who was a well- 
known British Officer. The statement was to the effect that 
he had been compelled, in the interests of protecting Pakistan, 
to send his armies — the Pakistan armies — into Kashmir. 
He was afraid that India was going to invade Pakistan across 
Kashmir from somewhere in Central Asia I 

That was the beginning of the extraordinary story of 
Kashmir and it is as well that it is repeated again and again, 
because people are apt to forget it. This matter has become 
international and is talked about in the various capitals of 
the world. This simple story, these simple facts of invasion, 
of brigandage, loot and arson are forgotten and passed over 



116 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-19SS 


casually while other discussions lake place. It has been an 
amazing education for many of us these five years: education 
in world politics, education in how nations can behave, 
education in how great countries get distorted vision and 
cannot see straight in the simplest matter when it so suits 
them. Perhaps, I am talking a little beyond my present brief. 
To come back to the future of Kashmir, I want to stress that 
it is only the people of Kashmir who can decide the future of 
Kashmir. It is not that we have merely said that to the 
United Nations and to the people of Kashmir; it is our convic- 
tion and one that is borne out by the policy we have pursued, 
not only in Kashmir but everywhere. Though these five 
years have meant a lot of trouble and expense and in spite of 
all we have done, we would willingly leave Kashmir if it was 
made clear to us that the people of Kashmir wanted us to go. 
However sad we may feel about leaving, we are not going 
to stay against the wishes of the people. We are not going 
to impose ourselves on them at the point of the bayonet. 

Of course, this does not mean that we are prepared to do 
what we consider wrong if the people of Kashmir should 
desire it. If they want us to do something wrong in Kashmir, 
we shall refuse to do it. We may even say, ‘We would rather 
not have any association with Kashmir than have the wrong 
kind of association.’ That is certainly conceivable. Nobody 
can force on us an association we do not want just as we 
cannot remain in Kashmir against the will of the people. An 
association is a matter of mutual understanding and affection, 
it is a voluntary union of parties who wish to have ties with 
each other. In our desire to gain the goodwill of the people of 
Kashmir, we cannot afford to provoke the ill-will of our own 
people. We are not considering this matter as a bargain or as 
a matter between strangers. We are almost a part of each 
other and are considering a difficult and delicate problem 
together as partners in order to try and find a way out. The 
way out may not be completely logical; it may not be 
completely reasonable from the point of view of this law 
or that constitution; but if it is effective, then it is a good 
way out. 

I should like to say one more thing in this connection 



OUR PLEDGE TO KASHMIR 


117 


although it is, perhaps, not to the point. I am afraid of saying 
it because there are so many lawyers here. When the British 
left, there was a good deal of misunderstanding about the 
situation that was created in India by the Partition and 
because of the statement about the Indian States issued by 
the United Kingdom. I shall venture to put forward my 
own view, functioning, for the moment, as a jurist and a 
constitutional lawyer. The Partition took away a certain 
part of India with our consent; but the rest of India, including 
the States, remained as a continuing entity. Till something 
happened to separate the States from India th'ey were a part 
of India. We were not created by partition as Pakistan was. 
India was, India remained, India is, India will be. So every 
State, till it arrived at a decision to the contrary, would 
continue to have the old relationship with India. 

By the removal of the British power from India in 1947, 
we were, to some extent, thrown back to the days when the 
British first came. That is an interesting and good parallel to 
pursue in other ways, too; but I shall not pursue it, because it 
may lead to controversial matters. When the British power 
established itself in India, it became evident that no other 
power in India could remain independent. Of course, these 
powers could remain semi-independent or as protectorates or 
in some other subordinate capacity. Accordingly, the Princely 
States were gradually brought under the domain and 
suzerainty of the British power. Similarly, when the British 
left India, it was just as impossible for old bits of Indian 
territory to remain independent as it had been during their 
regime. At that time Pakistan was, of course, out of the 
picture. For the rest, it was inevitable that the princes and 
others, whoever they might be and whether they wanted it 
or not, must acknowledge the suzerainty of the sovereign 
domain of the Republic of India. Therefore, the fact that 
Kashmir did not immediately decide whether to accede to 
Pakistan or to India did not make Kashmir independent for 
the intervening period. Since she was not independent, it 
was our responsibility as the continuing entity to see that 
Kashmir’s interests were protected. I wish to say this, because 
it was undeniably our duty to come to Kashmir’s aid, 

9— 11 DPD/65 



118 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


irrespective of whether she had acceded to India or not. On 
account of the continuing entity, India’s responsibility to all 
the other States remained unchanged except in the case of 
those that had definitely and deliberately parted company. 

The word ‘monarchy’ has been used a good deal. I do not 
understand in what sense it was used. We have no monarchs 
in India. I understand the meaning of the word ‘monarchy’ 
but it does not apply in the present case. I do not know 
why such words should be employed unless the aim is to 
delude us. There are some persons who, by the generosity of 
our States Ministry, are still called ‘rulers.’ I do not know 
why, because they rule nobody. Our States Ministry in the 
last three or four years has been known for its generosity 
and I am afraid we shall suffer for that generosity for a 
long time to come. 

There is no monarchy in India. In certain places there are 
princely families who have unnecessarily large endowments. 
They hope to live on these endowments for generations Co 
come. There are also a few Rajpramukhs. At the moment, 
we have three States that are headed by Rajpramukhs; in 
some instances, there are groups of States and one of the 
ex-rulers has been chosen to be Rajpramukh for life. 

Some of the Rajpramukhs are, undoubtedly, excellent 
people; others are not quite so excellent. It is true that the 
idea of giving tenure to a person in a responsible office for 
life is not entirely in keeping with modern thought. One 
must remember the particular context .of events and not be 
too critical of what was done. When this step was taken, 
hundreds and hundreds of States had to be absorbed into 
India within a few weeks. At that time, a number of princes 
might well have given a lot of trouble; in fact, some were on 
the point of giving major trouble. Some did give trouble 
secretly. When our other troubles came, some of these 
princes and their families and cousins and uncles did a lot of 
harm and injury by giving money and guns to gangs of 
rowdies to go about creating mischief. 

That was the position: there were hundreds and hundreds 
of independent States in India, which were uncertain of their 
future, afraid of their own people, afraid of the Government 



OUR PLEDGE TO KASHMIR 


119 


of India and left in the lurch by the protecting hand of the 
British power. We could have decided many things at that 
time. We could have decided, if you like, to remove them 
completely from the scene or to come to terms with them 
and buy immediate peace in a moment of grave peril to the 
country. It is very well for us to be wise after the event but I 
think Sardar Patel acted very wisely. There was great danger 
that India might go to pieces under the stress and strain of 
the passions raised by the Partition, the huge killings all over 
the country and the communal atrocities. The reactionary 
jagirdari and feudal elements threw themselves into the 
picture just to create trouble and disruption and in the hope 
that they could enlarge their domain in the general confusion. 
It was foolish of them to hope that; nevertheless, that is how 
their minds worked. In such circumstances, one had to take a 
decision. Chiefly Sadar Patel and partly all of us arrived at 
the decision that it was better to consolidate India rapidly, 
even though it cost a great deal of money, than to let waste- 
ful fratricidal warfare and disturbances continue. Apart 
from other things, even from the point of view of cost, the 
latter would prove to be more costly in the long run, besides 
leaving a trail of bitterness. Therefore, we made certain 
rapid settlements which, financially or otherwise, were 
hardly fair; but this was the price we had decided to pay 
for the quick settlement of a very difficult and vital problem. 

I shall not go into the details of how we propose to deal 
with these matters in future. Obviously, such matters will 
have to be dealt with in a friendly spirit because what happens 
in one place undoubtedly has its reactions and repercussions 
in another. What is happening or is likely to happen in 
Kashmir is bound to have its reactions elsewhere. 

The honourable Dr Mookerjee also referred to Article 
352. He said a great deal about it and asked me whether 
certain other articles dealing with financial chaos or emer- 
gency and with the breaking down of the Constitution would 
be applied in this case. I shall answer him. At present, we 
are not applying those articles. We have not even put them 
forward for consideration. I would beg the House to 
remember that we have to proceed on the basis laid down 



120 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-195S 


by that stout builder of our nation, Sardar Patel. At the time 
our new Constitution was being finalized, the question of 
Kashmir came up and was dealt with in Article 370 of the 
Constitution. I would ask the hon. Member to read Article 
370, because if he discusses this question now, he must do so 
on the basis of the Article which had been agreed upon and 
which is a part of the Constitution we have given ourselves. 

It is true, as has been pointed out, that the Article in 
question was not a final and absolute provision. That Article 
itself was a transitional one. But it laid down the method of 
decision in the future. It laid down the mode of procedure and 
prescribed the manner in which additions could be made to 
the subjects. Altogether, there were two classes of subjects. 
One related to the three major subjects or rather to the three 
categories of subjects, namely, defence, communications and 
foreign affairs. If any change was to be made in the inter- 
pretations of these, the President was to do it in consultation 
with the Kashmir Government or the Constituent Assembly 
of Kashmir. In regard to the other subjects, the words used 
are “with the concurrence of” and not “in consultations 
with.” 

Why, then, should anybody complain that we are going 
outside the Constitution, that we or the people or the Govern- 
ment of Kashmir are committing a breach of the 
Constitution? It may well be that the Government of 
Kashmir will ask us to do something which we do not 
consider proper. In that case, it only remains for us to talk 
to each other and find a way which both consider proper. If 
we fail to arrive at an agreement, then, of course, that thing 
cannot be done and the consequences have to be faced. The 
consequences may not be agreeable to them or to us but 
there is no other way. There is no question — as some of the 
amendments of hon. Members seem to imply— of our issuing 
some kind of decree or sending a compulsory order. I do 
submit that we have approached this matter and we shall 
always approach this matter in a spirit of friendship because 
we have to remember that there are many aspects to this 
question, both external and internal. The internal aspect is 
at present the responsibility of the Kashmir Government. 



OUR PLEDGE TO KASHMIR 


121 


The activities in that part of Kashmir which is called ‘Azad’ 
Kashmir — wrongly so, since it is under Pakistan — have an 
effect on other countries. Foreign countries naturally have 
an effect on India and so on. There are so many aspects to 
the problem that you just cannot look at it from your own 
point of view only. It may be that the people of K ashmir 
have a particular aspect in view which you have not consider- 
ed. It is possible that you may be convinced if you consider 
it. Dr Mookerjee complained that he was not consulted about 
certain things. Surely, Dr Mookerjee will not expect Sheikh 
Abdullah or a member of this Government, in the course of 
important talks, to be constantly consulting others. It is 
impossible; it cannot be done. Apart from those who had a 
particular commission in connection with this matter, even 
the members of my Cabinet were consulted only alter the 
talks were over. Sheikh Abdullah was anxious to meet the 
Members of the Opposition. He did not have the advantage 
of meeting Dr Mookerjee but he did meet his colleague, Mr 
Chatterjee, and he had a two-hour talk with him. I was not 
present at the talk but Mr Chatterjee was good enough to 
write to me and inform me that he had been influenced by 
what Sheikh Abdullah had told him. He further said that 
he now realized that there were many aspects which had not 
been put before him earlier. 

I should like to refer to Article 352 which deals with the 
proclamation of emergency. It reads as follows: “If the 
President is satisfied that a grave emergency exists whereby 
the security of India or of a part of the territory thereof is 
threatened, whether by war or external aggression or internal 
disturbance, he may, by Proclamation make a declaration to 
that effect....” 

In a sense, the President can do all manner of things, 
including taking charge of the whole State. What we 
suggested and agreed upon in these talks was that where 
there was a reference to internal disturbances, this action 
should be taken with the concurrence of the Government 
concerned and that such concurrence was not necessary in 
case of aggression or war. Undoubtedly, that is a varia- 
tion in favour of that Government and hon. Members are 



122 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


entitled to criticize it. Will hon. Members kindly recall the 
basis from which we started? We start from Article 370 for 
the present moment. Article 370 rules out Article 352 and 
all the other articles. That is to say, at the present 
moment, keeping strictly to the Constitution as it is appli- 
cable to Kashmir State, none of these provisions apply. So 
that, all we have said in regard to the Supreme Court or to 
the President’s other powers, is new and must be included in 
the Constitution of Kashmir. The supremacy of the President 
or this Parliament or Supreme Court only applies to Kashmir 
to the extent to which they accept it. It is not as though we 
were giving away something. We have very specifically laid 
down this very important provision of the Constitution, that 
the President can take charge of the whole State itself under a 
grave emergency. This should apply to the State of Jammu 
and Kashmir except in the case of internal disturbance, when 
the concurrence of the Government of Kashmir is necessary. 
This seems very odd and some people say, ‘How can you ask 
or wait for their concurrence?’ It is not really such an odd 
provision; because when the whole State is in a chaos, then 
nobody waits for anybody’s concurrence and the necessary 
steps are taken. The particular phraseology of the Article is 
taken from the American Constitution, where the Federal 
Government can take charge of the State in an emergency 
with the concurrence of the State Government. Undoubtedly, 
it is open to hon. Members to criticize this; but there is 
nothing very odd or very special about it and. in the circum- 
stances, we felt that it was better for us to accept this form 
rather than none. 

The fact that we have been considering these provisions, 
whether they are emergency provisions or they concern the 
President’s special powers or Parliament’s powers in a certain 
domain or the Supreme Court, is surely an indication as to 
where sovereignty lies. I am, perhaps, being rash; but I am 
talking about the Constitution and legal matters. Obviously, 
in a federal constitution, federal sovereignty is divided 
between the Federal Centre and the States. In a moment of 
crisis, however, sovereignty may vest with the Federation or 
Centre. 1 see that the Law Minister apparently does not 



OUR PLEDGE TO KASHMIR 


12S 


agree. I am not quite sure but whatever the case, it is a small 
matter. Whether sovereignty is to be divided or not in a 
Federation is an old argument. 

I started with the presumption that it is for the people of 
Kashmir to decide their own future. We will not compel 
them. In that sense, the people of Kashmir are sovereign. 
They are not sovereign in the sense that they cannot accept 
the Constitution and then break it. They cannot enter into 
a partnership with us and accept that part of our Constitution 
over which we are sovereign and then try to evade it. But 
they are sovereign in the sense that they may accept the 
whole or reject the whole; or they may come to an agreement 
with us on particular matters that they do not want to accept 
along with our Constitution. 

I have taken a lot of time and I hope the House vill for- 
give me for it. In a few days, my colleague, Mr Gopalaswamy 
Ayyangar, will be leaving for Geneva. I will not be very 
truthful if I say that I expect great things to happen; but we 
have to carry on with the rough and the smooth of it and not 
run away from it. Our good wishes go with him but, above 
all, our good wishes should go to the people of Jammu and 
Kashmir State, who have become the plaything of inter- 
national politics and even of our debates. 



INDIA AND PAKISTAN 


WE CANNOT BE ENEMIES FOR EVER 

S ir, as the House is aware, this debate on the President’s 
Address is a new departure and we have no conventions to 
guide us in the matter. This new Republic must make its 
own conventions. I have followed this debate and we as the 
Government have welcomed and will always welcome 
opportunities when hon. Members can criticize the Govern- 
ment or express their opinions about the various activities of 
the Government. But I have noticed that, in the course of 
this discussion, a large number of matters have been raised; 
in fact, the discussion has been, to some extent, on the lines of 
the normal budget discussion. 

Now, it is not for me, Sir, to limit the discussion in any 
way or to restrict it but I would suggest certain things for 
your consideration and for the consideration of the House. 
The essential nature of this debate at the beginning of the 
session is to give an opportunity to the Opposition in the 
House to raise major questions of policy, in fact, to raise 
something which is tantamount to a vote of no confidence by 
the House. A new House or a new Government or a Govern- 
ment meeting in a new session, naturally wants to give an 
opportunity to the House to decide then and there whether it 
approves of that Government and its major lines of policy or 
not. If, instead of that, we have a debate on a large number 
of minor issues, the major issues are obscured and the 
principal object of such a debate is, therefore, not served. 
There is, of course, a difficulty in this House as the Opposi- 
tion is numerically very small and it is, therefore, right and 
fair that some latitude should be given. 

There are one or two relatively small matters to which I 
shall also refer right at the beginning. One or two hon. 

Reply to debate on the President's Address in Parliament, New Delhi, 
February 3, 1950 



WE CANNOT BE ENEMIES FOR EVER 


125 


Members of this House complained that a sufficient number 
of women have not been returned to the House. Although that 
is not a matter which concerns Government policy, I would 
like to express my entire concurrence with that complaint 
and my firm opinion that women have not been given a fair 
deal in this country. Further, in future, it will be a matter of 
serious-' consequence to this country and to this House as to 
whether a sufficient number of women are returned or not. 
May I add that in the experience we have had in regard to 
the appointment of women in our delegations to foreign 
countries as well as in appointments made by the United 
Nations itself, I cannot think of a single instance whc»e the 
appointment has not justified itself? I can, howe\er, think 
of many instances where appointments of men have not been 
justified. Speaking from a good deal of experience, I can tell 
this House that women, who have gone abroad in our dele- 
gations and for other work, have, each one of them, raised 
the credit of India and left a good impression wherever they 
have gone. 

My friend, the hon. Mr Tyagi, took exception to the cere- 
monial that was observed when the President came in. He 
thought that it was too English and that we should have 
conches or some other ancient instrument blowing when he 
came in. Whether he meant it seriously or not, I do not 
know; but it does raise an interesting point for the considera- 
tion of this House. We are anxious to have our own customs 
and our own ceremonials in India. When we adopt a certain 
practice or ceremonial which comes from foreign countries, 
I suppose, it has a certain meaning. Both in our Constitution 
and in our judicial system, we have very largely followed the 
practice of foreign countries and more especially that of the 
British Parliament. Would the hon. Member, who 
complained, like us to have armies after the model of the 
Mahabharata and use weapons which were used five hundred 
years ago? I say this because there is a tendency in this 
country to support obscurantism in the name of nationalism. 
We often seem to confuse the great things of the past with its 
minor trappings. There is thus the danger that the great 
things may suffer while the minor trappings flourish. There- 



126 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


fore, we must be careful in these matters. India suffered 
enough in the past by being caught up in the minor trappings. 
India became a slave country because she did not keep pace 
with the world. If we forget that lesson today, we shall fall 
back again. Nationalism is a great and vital force and, if we 
give up any part of the genius of our people and the basic 
traditions of our people, we lose a great deal thereby; we 
become rootless. At the same time, nationalism often covers 
a multitude of sins and a multitude of things that are dead 
and gone. What is communalism after all? In its very essence 
it is a throwback to a medieval state of mind, medieval habits 
and medieval slogans. Let us, by all means, preserve every 
single Indian custom and every Indian way of thought; only, 
let us not go back to something that has no relevance to the 
modern world. The President came in. There was no blowing 
of trumpets. Does Mr Tyagi object to people walking in step? 
Does any hon. Member object to military officers accom- 
panying our President? Does the hon. Member object to our 
military officers wearing the uniform they had on? Does he 
expect them to go about in the dress I am wearing today or 
in the dress some hon. Members are wearing? 

The President will come again. The President will come 
accompanied by his ADCs and military officers. If the ADCs 
and military officers are to accompany the President, are 
they to wear special military uniforms? Is our Army to put 
on a different uniform? One has to think about these things. 
We can and we should consider what new customs should 
we introduce anything that stands for aloofness and sloppiness, 
the bane of this country, which leads inevitably to ineffi- 
ciency and many other evils? We live in an age where we 
have to be efficient, whether it is on the political, economic 
or any other plane. I admit that, in many ways, the Govern- 
ment ought to be more efficient but you cannot expect 
efficiency to rise as Phoenix out of the ashes in an inefficient 
environment. 

I think it was my friend Mr Tyagi who said that we 
should have a government of revolutionaries. I should very 
much like to know what his definition of a revolutionary is. 



WE CANNOT BE ENEMIES FOR EVER 


127 


since a revolutionary has been defined in many ways. In the 
old days, revolutionary activity was normally defined as 
activity directed against the foreign Government. At a time 
when we had to oppose a foreign imperialistic government, 
this was understandable. There, too, there may be a difference 
of opinion, for a man may take to the bomb and call himself 
a. revolutionary, although his action may actually be counter- 
revolutionary in terms of the true mechanics of revolution. 
Yet, by a strange misuse of language, a bomb-thrower has 
been called a revolutionary. Now that the foreign Govern- 
ment is gone, we are facing other problems. What is the test 
of revolution now? Many of the people, who were prc' iously 
revolutionaries in the old sense of the word, are nc longer 
revolutionaries in its modern sense. In fact, some of them may 
actually be classed as reactionaries. In fact, because a person 
has been a revolutionary during the British regime, it does 
not necessarily follow that he is a revolutionary today. Take 
the communists, for instance. They were our colleagues for 
some time. Today, they are following an anti-social policy of 
destruction and sabotage; and yet they were revolutionaries 
once. There are others, too, who do not oppose us on the 
political plane but on the economic plane. Indeed, how many 
views there are on the economic plane! It is, therefore, not 
easy to call a man a revolutionary without knowing how to 
define the term. 

We had to make an attempt to lower the prices of basic 
necessities, especially food. We could not afford to take the 
slightest risk because anti-social people would profit by it. It 
is a dangerous thing to play about with the food crisis. How- 
ever, these are matters for careful consideration by the 
Government and by this House. 

Now to come to the issues of foreign policy. It is clear that 
there has been very little criticism of our foreign policy except 
in so far as it applied to Pakistan. I would like to say that the 
record of our foreign policy, in the two and a half years since 
we attained independence, is a very satisfactory one, judged 
by the status of the nation in international affairs. There is 
no doubt that, for a variety of reasons, India's reputation 
in international affairs is high. We have adopted, as the 



128 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


House knows, a policy which has been described as one of 
neutrality or non-alignment. I dislike the word ‘neutrality’ 
because there is a certain passivity about it and our policy is 
not passive. Why we are criticized as sitting on the fence or as 
siding with this or that group, I do not quite understand. 
A country’s foreign policy ultimately emerges from its own 
traditions, urges, objectives and, more particularly, from 
its recent past. India is being powerfully affected by her recent 
past. We were laying down the basis of our foreign policy 
even when we were opposing the British Government during 
the last twenty or thirty years. I submit that within the limits 
of a changing situation, we have tried to follow that policy. 
It seems to me extraordinarily presumptuous on anybody's 
part to ask me to join this or that bloc. Is my country so small, 
so insignificant, so lacking in worth or strength, that it cannot 
say what it wants to say, that it must say ditto to this or that? 
Why should my policy be the policy of this country or that 
country? It is going to be my policy, the Indian policy and 
my country’s policy. 

It is true that no policy can be viewed in isolation. We 
co-operate with other countries and we seek the co-operation 
of others. We have our likes and dislikes. In regard to our 
likes, they help us to co-operate; but in regard to our dislikes, 
they come in the way. Indeed, we tone down our dislikes 
deliberately because we want to be friendly with other 
countries. 

We see that the world today is blinded by fear and hatred. 
It is an extraordinary situation and it is becoming more 
and more difficult for countries to take an objective view of 
any subject or problem. This enveloping fear and hatred lead 
them to violence and war. What it will ultimately lead to, I 
cannot say. I still think it possible that grave disasters and 
catastrophes might be avoided for the world, not by the 
efforts of India alone but also by enlisting the aid of earnest 
people of goodwill in other parts of the world, who think 
likewise. 

Whatever the consequences of another war may be, it is 
dead certain — and it is terrible to contemplate — that in 
every country and in every part of the world most things 




At the Central Fuel Research Institute, Jealgora , April 1950 
Visit to a coal mine in Bihar , April 1950 





Gntng away prizes to umners in a children's painting , di awing 
and writing competition organized by a Delhi weekly 





dddieswig Ihr Indonesian Parliament at I)}akai f a 
during his usit to Jndoiuua , June 1 9^0 



W ith President boekamo oj Indonesia , driving 
through the crowded streets of Djakarta 



With the British Primi Minister Mr ( lemint ittlee and other ( ommmwealth Prime 
Ministers at the (ommamuaHh ( nfamt held in London m januaiy 1951 



WE CANNOT BE ENEMIES FOR EVER 


129 


that we value in life will vanish. Whether you call yourself a 
communist, a socialist or any other ‘ist,’ you cannot let the 
very basis of progress and civilized existence be destroyed 
for a whole generation or more. Of course, some third or 
fourth generation may be able to arise from the ashes of that 
war but any person who thinks at all earnestly must come 
to the conclusion that every effort must be made to prevent 
this great catastrophe overwhelming the world. 

I am not so vain as to imagine that any efforts on the part 
of our Government will make a great difference to world 
affairs. Yet, every little effort counts and, in any event, I do 
not see why our efforts should not be in that direction and 
why we should take for granted that war is inevitable and 
give up all attempts to prevent it. This, therefore, is t’ue aim 
of our foreign policy. 

Some hon. Members criticized our association with the 
Commonwealth of Nations. May I beg the House or those 
Members who object to it to dissociate this question from 
past sentiment? I do feel that it is the past sentiment that 
governs them more than the present situation. Presumably, 
some people imagine that our association with the Common- 
wealth imposes some kind of restricting or limiting factor 
upon our activities, be they political, economic, foreign, 
domestic or anything else. That impression is completely 
unfounded. In the case of the United Nations or the Inter- 
national Monetary Fund, some limiting factors certainly come 
in, as they must, if we join an international organization 
of that type; but in our association with the Commonwealth, 
there is not the least vestige of such a limiting factor. 

As the House well knows, this is not a constitutional 
issue; it is in the nature of a gentleman’s agreement between 
the countries of the Commonwealth which we entered into 
deliberately and after serious thought because we felt that 
this relationship was to our advantage. 

I think an hon. Member said something about devalua- 
tion. Whether devaluation was good or bad has nothing to 
do with our membership of the Commonwealth. We may 
carry out any policy we like regardless of whether we are in 
the Commonwealth or not. When people think of the 



ISO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 

Commonwealth influencing us in our policies, may I suggest 
to them the possibility that we may also greatly influence 
others in the right direction? 

Then, a reference was made to countries like South 
Africa whose policy brings them into conflict with us in the 
various phases of our activities. Questions are often asked of 
me: ‘Did you consider the South African issue or the P akis t an 
issue at the Colombo Conference and elsewhere?’ My 
answer invariably is that we did not, because we do not 
deliberately want to make the Commonwealth Conference 
a kind of tribunal or a kind of superior body to decide our 
issues. We are all independent countries dealing directly 
with one another. The House knows that our membership 
of the Commonwealth has made no difference whatever to 
our dealing with the South African issue. If we go out of the 
Commonwealth, it will not make much difference to our 
policy, except, perhaps, that it might, in some ways, become 
slightly easier for ns to deal with each country in the 
Commonwealth on a reciprocal basis. 

Apart from the general reason, namely, that there is 
absolutely no object in our breaking an association which 
might help and certainly cannot hinder and which helps in 
the larger context of world affairs, there is one major reason 
for our remaining in the Commonwealth and that is that a 
very large number of Indians live abroad in what are called 
British colonies or dependencies. I am not talking about the 
self-governing or independent countries of the Common- 
wealth but about other places. By our remaining in the 
Commonwealth, these Indians are in a better position than 
they would be otherwise. In the latter case, they would have 
to make a sudden choice and break with India or with the 
country where they reside. Had we left the Commonwealth 
it would have put millions of our people in a very difficult 
position, quite unnecessarily. 

Coming to our relations with Pakistan, many hon. 
Members have expressed the opinion that we have been 
too gentle, that we have been indulging in appeasement or 
that we have not been firm enough and so on. Well, it is not 
easy to consider a vague indictment of this kind. One can 



WE CANNOT BE ENEMIES FOR EVER 


1S1 


discuss specific matters and give an answer. It is also not 
easy, because in the very delicate state of relations between 
India and Pakistan during the last two and a half years, 
everything that has happened does not see the light of day. 
We don’t shout from the house-tops about what we do and, 
therefore, all the facts are sometimes not before the public. 
I do n6t, however, wish to take shelter behind that plea. 
Most of the facts are before the public and before this House. 
I should like the House and hon. Members — if not now, at a 
later stage — to tell me what they think should or should not 
be done about any specific matter. The vague idea of 'being 
firm’ does not help. 

The partition of India was, from every point of view, a 
very unnatural thing. Well, we accepted it, we continue to 
accept it and we will act accordingly. But as the Pnsident 
said in his Address, it inflicted such wounds on the vast masses 
of people in India and Pakistan as would take some time 
to heal. 

Some hon. Members have often pointed out that Pakistan 
employs wrong methods and does not follow a straight 
policy. I agree. But would hon. Members suggest to this 
Government that it should also not follow a straight policy 
in regard to Pakistan? I want that question to be considered 
and answered, because I am quite convinced in my mind that 
whatever policy Pakistan may follow, we should not follow a 
crooked policy. I say that, not merely on grounds of high 
principles but from the point of view of sheer opportunism. 
If I have gained any experience in the last thirty or forty 
years of my public life or if I have learnt any lesson from the 
Great Master who taught us many things, it is this, that a 
crooked policy does not pay in the end. It may pay 
temporarily. 

I do not mean — how could I — that any Member is 
suggesting such a policy but there are people and organiza- 
tions outside the House who do suggest it and that is why 1 
referred to it. Some of the things suggested by bodies like the 
Hindu Mahasabha seem to me the stupidest of things. But 
there is a market for stupidity and cupidity in this country. 
I, therefore, want to make it perfectly clear that these 



132 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


suggestions, which according to me are crooked suggestions 
and come out of crooked minds, will not be accepted by us, 
whatever the consequences. It is not so much to this House 
that I am addressing myself as to the people outside who 
irresponsibly say things which affect our foreign policy and 
which give cause to the people on the other side of the 
frontier to create more trouble. 

We are a great country and this House has great authority 
over matters of State, both domestic and foreign. What this 
House says or what an hon. Member in this House may say 
is carried to far countries and this is how other people judge 
our country. Therefore, we must speak with a great deal of 
responsibility. Our lightest utterance may have a special 
meaning for other countries. I try, in spite of the failing on 
my part to talk rashly at times, to restrain myself. I have 
tried to speak with as much moderation as I can on matters 
concerning Pakistan and other countries. I am convinced 
that we must be strong and firm in our policies and prepara- 
tion, be they military or other; we must not give in on any 
point we consider wrong, whatever happens: but our attitude 
should, at the same time, be restrained, moderate and 
friendly. Whether it is possible to combine the two or not, it 
is difficult to say. Anyhow, that is my training and that was 
the training we received even when we were fighting a 
powerful imperialism and risking everything in that fight : 
not to bow down to evil but to be firm with it, not to com- 
promise with it or stoop to its own level but to prepare to 
meet it on every front and, at the same time, be gentle in out 
conduct and moderate in our language. Perhaps, some hon. 
Members may sometimes mistake our soft language or our 
moderate approach for lack of firmness. Why not examine 
our actions — whether they are in the plains or in the moun- 
tains of Kashmir — and study them? 

May I beg of you to consider here that we are facing a 
new situation, at any rate, a new development, to which an 
hon. Member drew attention yesterday? The exodus from 
East to West Bengal is increasing. I agree that is a bad thing 
and everything should be done to check it and to help those 
who come over. But behind it lies something much bigger. If 



WE CANNOT BE ENEMIES FOR EVER 


1SS 


this kind of thing goes on, obviously it may lead to disastrous 
consequences. Should we, in a moment of anger, say or do 
things which precipitate further crises and further disasters? 
I submit to this honourable House that a responsible govern- 
ment should not do that. It should, of course, take every 
effective step. But shouting aggressively is not such a ‘step.’ 
Unfortunately, the old traditions of diplomacy have been 
forgotten in the modern world. Diplomacy in the olden days 
may have been good or bad but people at least did not curse 
one another in public. The new tradition today is to carry 
on publicly a verbal warfare in the strongest language. 
Perhaps, that is better than actual fighting but it leai's to 
fighting or rather may lead to fighting. 

I, therefore, submit that, in our relations with Pakistan, 
we have first of all to follow a policy of firmness and adequate 
preparation but always to maintain a friendly approach. 
Again, there can be no doubt that India and Pakistan, 
situated as they are geographically and otherwise and with 
their historical background, cannot carry on for ever as 
enemies. If they do, catastrophe after catastrophe will follow; 
either they will wipe each other out or one will wipe the 
other out and suffer the consequences, which is unthinkable. 
We are passing through trouble and crisis, largely due, in 
my opinion, to a certain fund of hatred and violence 
accumulated during the days before Partition. We have 
inherited this legacy and we must face it. Let us forget the 
Governments — our Government and the Government of 
Pakistan — and think of the millions of people who live next 
door to one another. At some time or other, those millions 
will have to come together, will have to co-operate, will 
have to be friends. There is no doubt about it. Let us think 
of that future which may not be very distant and let us not 
do things today which may lead to generations of rivalry 
and conflict. 

We have, as the House knows, offered to make a joint 
declaration with the Government of Pakistan for the 
avoidance of war. Some hon. Members may think that it is a 
gesture of weakness. Well, I am sorry if they think so, because 
it is, in fact, a gesture of strength. We know exactly to what 

10—11 DPD/63 



184 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1958 


limit we are going to permit things to go. We have made 
that offer, because we are convinced that, if it was agreed to, 
it would lay the foundations for a gradual, if not sudden, 
improvement and for the settlement of various questions. 
I do not want hon. Members to think lightly of a question 
which they want solved by war. I can understand war in the 
context of defence. I don’t wish to think of war in the context 
of aggression and I want to make this point perfectly clear on 
behalf of myself and my Government. 

We have, indeed, fallen far below what might be called 
the Gandhian ideology but it still influences us to some 
extent. And, anyway, it is not a question of ideologies at all; 
it is a question of looking at the world today with clear eyes. 
As the House remembers, Mahatma Gandhi once spoke 
warningly of the countries of the world looking at one 
another with bloodshot eyes. There is something fateful about 
that sentence. He said, “Keep your eyes clear.” So, I try as 
far as I can, to keep my eyes clear when I look at the scene, 
whether it is India or the world scene or the relations between 
India and Pakistan; for bloodshot eyes bode nothing good, 
no clear thinking and no clear action. An hon. Member 
implied that people grow weak because they don’t have 
bloodshot eyes or because they don’t urge one another on to 
war all the time. That is not only a wrong policy but a policy 
of despair. 

If we can maintain a certain state of mental prepared- 
ness only by strong drinks and intoxicating words, we must 
obviously succumb when we do not have them. Therefore, it 
is well to be prepared for all contingencies, whether military 
or any other. It is well to be firm and not bow down to evil. 
But it is also well always to be conciliatory and always to 
stretch out your hand to those who will grasp it; because, 
though their Government may not do so, the people will 
always grasp an outstretched hand, not only the people of a 
particular country but the people of all the countries of 
the world. 



A PLEA FOR BALANCE 


F or some time past I have been greatly concerned with 
developments in East Bengal and their repercussions in 
West Bengal. I have followed these events with anxiety, 
which my colleagues have shared with me. These develop- 
ments in East Bengal have brought unhappiness and misery 
to large numbers of people, many of whom have been forced 
by circumstances to migrate to West Bengal. Apart from the 
human misery involved, the situation is full of danger. The 
Government of West Bengal and the Government of India, 
fully conscious of this danger, have given the situation ea> nest 
thought and taken such action as they consider necissary. 
It is obvious that we cannot control the happenings in East 
Bengal except by consultation with the Central Government 
of Pakistan and the Government of East Bengal. We are, of 
course, wholly responsible for what happens on our side of 
the border. We have, therefore, taken appropriate steps and 
been in constant consultation with the Pakistan Government 
on these issues. 

Events caused certain repercussions in Murshidabad 
District which were speedily and effectively handled by the 
West Bengal Government. Meanwhile, other developments 
have taken place in certain parts of Calcutta, which have 
added to the gravity of the situation. I would like to make 
an earnest appeal to the people of Calcutta to help in control- 
ling the situation and bringing it back to normal in every 
way they can. Whatever action we take towards this end, 
disturbances in Calcutta or elsewhere cannot help us. Above 
all, we must avoid attempts at retaliation because they are 
not only morally wrong but also harmful in that they weaken 
the effect of any action we might take. I can well understand 
the strong feelings that have been roused by the gruesome 
accounts brought from East Bengal by the refugees and 
others. We share those feelings. But action should not flow 
from emotion alone. In order to be effective and firm, it has 
to be calm, well thought out and based on right principles. 


Statement to the Press, New Delhi, February 10, 1950 



196 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1959 

Otherwise, that action is not only ineffective but also injurious 
to the very cause for which it is taken. In trying to solve one 
problem, we should not give rise to other and more difficult 
problems. On no account must we fall a prey to communal 
passion and retaliation. The problem of Calcutta and West 
Bengal is not only a provincial problem but an All-India one 
and the burden of solving it must rest with the whole of 
India. In this matter, differences in political approach do not 
or should not count. All political progress depends upon 
certain fundamentals, such as an ordered and tolerant society. 
An ordered society faces those who seek to injure it with 
firmness and effectiveness. If that basis is lost, then all the 
anti-social elements will have free play. 

I would, therefore, appeal to the citizens of Calcutta and 
the people of West Bengal, including the refugees who have 
come over from East Bengal, speedily to put an end to all 
manifestations of disorder and to help in bringing normality 
to the life of that great city. Only then can we face these new 
problems, as we have faced the old, with all our combined 
strength, keeping in view the objectives and principles for 
which we have stood and by which alone we can make our 
country great. 


THE BENGAL ISSUE 

F or some time now, especially during the last two weeks, 
the country has been in the shadow of tragedy. The atmos- 
phere of suspense has been further heightened because 
accurate news was lacking and all kinds of rumours were 
afloat; and, often greatly exaggerated statements were made. 
The Government, responsible for dealing with the situation 
developing in Bengal, has had to bear a heavy burden. For 
the moment, all other issues, however important, took a 
second place. The Government explored every possible 
avenue in dealing with this situation. I must apologize to the 
House for not giving much information on the subject earlier; 


Statement in Parliament, New Delhi, February 23, 1950 



THE BENGAL ISSUE 


1S7 


but the very gravity of the situation and the absence of 
accurate news led me to postpone making a statement. I was 
anxious not to say anything that might turn out to be inac- 
curate or help in aggravating a situation which was bad 
enough already. 

The press in India, as elsewhere, has its faults. Some 
periodicals are particularly irresponsible. I should like to say, 
however, that during the last two weeks, the Indian press 
has exercised commendable restraint and I am grateful for 
it. Unfortunately, 1 cannot say as much for the Pakistan 
press. I was amazed to read accounts and comments in the 
Pakistan press which were not only grossly exaggerated but 
often fantastic in their untruth and violent in then appeals 
to passion and bigotry. Ever since the trouble started, it has 
been our earnest desire to find out the facts because it is not 
possible to understand the situation, much less to deal with 
it, without knowing what has actually happened or is 
happening. Even today, we are making every effort to induce 
the Government of Pakistan to co-operate with us in finding 
out the truth about the trouble, both in West and East 
Bengal. We do not want an elaborate enquiry. All we want 
is accurate information about the existing situation so that 
both the Governments might adopt adequate measures and 
deal with it. It must be realized that, left to itself, the evil 
we are facing is likely to continue and its possible consequences 
are too appalling to contemplate. 

We deplore greatly what happened in Calcutta when it 
was the scene of trouble. I think it can be said with truth that 
this trouble was dealt with promptly and effectively. We 
appreciate the firmness and impartiality with which the 
Chief Minister of West Bengal dealt with the situation in 
Calcutta. Calcutta is a big city and any one who wishes may 
go there and see things for himself; but East Bengal is very 
different in this respect and news travels slowly. A kind of 
iron curtain fell on East Bengal during these days and accurate 
information did not come through except in driblets. 

The problem before us is much too serious for any one of 
us to seek to make political capital out of it, for it affects the 
future of tens of millions of people both in India and Pakistan. 



138 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 

I have endeavoured, therefore, to exercise as much restraint 
as I could and to view the situation objectively. I have little 
doubt that what has happened in East Bengal is far more 
serious than what happened in Calcutta and one or two 
other places in West Bengal. The two can hardly be com- 
pared with any fairness. In any case, it is important that we 
know the facts. 

I shall, therefore, give the facts that have come to our 
knowledge. For months past, persistent anti-India and anti- 
Hindu propaganda has been carried on in East Bengal. The 
press, the platform and sometimes the radio have been used 
to incite the masses against the Hindus in East Bengal. The 
latter have been called ‘kafirs,’ ‘fifth-columnists,’ ‘a danger to 
our State’ and so on. Similarly, virulent propaganda, mostly 
in regard to Kashmir, was carried on in West Pakistan, too. 
Hatred and violence and war were preached in the name of 
religion. 

On December 20, 1949, an incident occurred in the 
village of Kalshira in the Bagerhat sub division of Khulna 
District in East Bengal. A police party went to arrest an 
alleged communist. Failing to find him, they started to assault 
the inmates of his house, including the women. Attracted by 
the cries of the women, the neighbours ran to the scene and a 
free fight between the police party and the villagers followed. 
A policeman was killed on the spot and another died of 
injuries subsequently. 

Two days later, the police, assisted by the Ansars and 
some rowdy elements, attacked not only that village but 
twenty-two others inhabited mostly by members of the 
Namasudra community. There was arson and looting on a 
large scale; men were murdered and women ravished. There 
were also forcible conversions and places of worship were 
desecrated. The residents of the unfortunate village could 
not escape because of the rigid cordon maintained by the 
armed police and others. Even the news of the attack could 
not come through. About three weeks after this occurrence, 
some of the afflicted people in the villages mana ged to evade 
the cordon and cross into West Bengal. Immediately, the West 
Bengal Government drew the attention of the Government 



THE BENGAL ISSUE 


IS# 


of East Bengal to this grave situation and asked for 
information. This enquiry brought no reply and the personal 
letter written by the Chief Minister of West Bengal to the 
Premier of East Bengal remained unanswered. In spite of 
obstructions, the migration from the Khulna area to West 
Bengal continued and up to February 14, men, women and 
children numbering 24,239 had left the affected areas. 

Incidents somewhat similar to these took place at Nachole 
in Rajshahi District in East Bengal, an area largely inhabited 
by the Santhals. Following a clash between the police and the 
Santhals, many villages were ravaged. By February 3, 700 
Santhal families had crossed over to West Bengal. 

The presence of all those refugees and their stc.ies of 
ill-treatment shocked and excited the public in West Bengal. 
As a result, some isolated incidents took p ’ace in 
Murshidabad and in two or three villages nearby. The 
situation, however, was rapidly brought under control. There 
were no deaths and only a few people were injured. There 
was also a small exodus from West Bengal, although the 
exact figures are not known at present. 

The refugees from Khulna and their accounts of what 
they suffered created considerable excitement in Calcutta 
and, as a result, a series of incidents took place on February 4. 
There were stray assaults on the Muslims and a number of 
their bustees were burnt. The police took immediate action 
and made arrests on every occasion. The situation improved 
and no incidents were reported on February 6 and 7. On 
February 8, two Hindus were stabbed in front of a mosque 
in Ultadanga in North Calcutta. This led to a recrudescence 
of the trouble and arson and looting took place in certain 
Muslim localities. There were also cases where Muslims 
were stabbed. The police were given orders to shoot at sight 
any person looting or stabbing or committing arson, while 
a curfew was imposed in the affected areas. Military patrols 
were on constant duty. From February 10 onwards, the dis- 
turbances were greatly reduced in volume and were ultimately 
fully controlled. 

Owing to these disturbances, there was considerable 
panic in some of the Muslim areas of Calcutta and a number 



140 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


of Muslims left their houses for other parts of Calcutta, 
notably the Park Circus area. According to a house to house 
census, 26,112 persons moved to other parts of Calcutta, 
although subsequently a large number of them returned to 
their houses. 

The actual casualties in the Calcutta and Murshidabad 
areas were as follows: 

Calcutta area (up to February 1 7) 




Hindus 

Muslims 

Others 

Injured 

• • 

83* 

123 

m # 

Deaths 

. , . . 

11 

20 

# # 

Arrested 

.. 

979 

91 

6 

*16 were 

injured by police-firing. 





Rest of Bengaly including Howrah (up to February 19) 




Hindus 

Muslims 

Injured 

, . 

27* 

23 

Deaths 

. . 

5t 

14 

Arrested 

, , 

360 

75 


*12 were injured by police-firing. 
tOne was killed by police-firing. 

On February 9, a conference between the Chief 
Secretaries of East and West Bengal took place at Dacca. 
On February 10, while this conference was still going on, 
there was a demonstration inside the Secretariat at Dacca. 
The employees of the East Bengal Secretariat marched to 
Victoria Park in procession. After the meeting held there, 
rioting, looting, murder and arson broke loose all over the 
city of Dacca and continued till the next day. On February 
12, a crowd of Hindu passengers was attacked at the 
Karimtolla airport near Dacca by an armed mob and a large 
number of intending passengers, including women and 
children, were killed or seriously wounded. This tragedy 
took place within a stone’s throw of the Karimtolla military 
headquarters and in the presence of Pakistan armed guards. 



THE BENGAL ISSUE 


141 


It is not possible for us to know exactly how long these 
disturbances continued in Dacca or to give accurate figures 
about deaths or other mishaps. Estimates of deaths in Dacca 
city alone vary between a thousand and six hundred. 

It is still more difficult to obtain facts about the mofussil 
areas in East Bengal. But it is clear that there have been 
disturbances in several widely spread towns like Narayanganj, 
Chittagong, Feni, Rajshahi, Barisal and Mymensingh. No 
correct information has been supplied by the East Bengal 
Government about these incidents, although it was agreed 
at the Chief Secretaries’ Conference that there should be 
mutual exchange of authenticated information. Pass* tigers 
who have flown from Calcutta to Dacca and back have 
reported that they saw burnt out houses in the village* along 
the route. For some days, refugees from East Bengal were 
not allowed to come to West Bengal. Passengers in trains 
were taken down at intermediate stations and the arrival of 
empty trains in West Bengal caused a fresh spate of rumours 
and excitement. Later, these restrictions were removed to 
some extent but even then injured persons were not allowed 
to cross over. 

The figures for evacuation, both by train and air, from 
East Bengal to West Bengal and vice versa arc as follows: 

From Dacca to Calcutta by air between 
February 12 and 21 . . About 3,500 persons 

By train from East Bengal to Calcutta 
between February 13 and 20 .. .. „ 16,000 „ 


Total . . „ 19,500 


From Calcutta to Dacca by air between 

February 12 and 21 .. „ 2,100 „ 

From Calcutta to East Bengal by train 
between February 13 and 20.. .. „ 3,000 „ 


Total .. „ 5,100 


A very large proportion of the Hindu population of 



142 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-195S 


Dacca went into improvised camps soon after the trouble 
arose. These camps were, however, exceedingly unsatis- 
factory. Many of these people have now returned to their 
homes. According to the latest figures received, 7,200 are 
still in these camps in Dacca city and 10,000 have been given 
shelter in private houses in Hindu areas. 

We have received a large number of telegrams, letters and 
other accounts from individuals who have come from various 
parts of East Bengal, giving particulars of ghastly occurrences. 
I have refrained from mentioning these, for, usually, people 
who have been through great ordeals cannot give a correct 
account of their experiences and are apt to exaggerate. Such 
figures as I have given above have been checked and are likely 
to be near the truth. It seems to me clear, however, that 
many parts of East Bengal have been the scene of bitter 
tragedy. 

The Government received the first reports of the Khulna 
incidents on January 20. Further reports showed that the 
situation was a serious one and that large numbers of refugees 
were coming to West Bengal. Protests were repeatedly lodged 
with the Government of Pakistan but with no results. Since 
the trouble began in Dacca, the Government tried to be in 
constant touch with the West Bengal Government and with 
its Deputy High Commissioner in Dacca. Our Deputy High 
Commissioner, however, was not in a position to give any 
first-hand information for some time, because, on the advice 
of the Pakistan authorities, he did not go out of his house. 
Meanwhile, hundreds of refugees had taken shelter in his 
office. 

On February 17, I sent a telegram to the Pakistan 
Prime Minister suggesting that every facility for visiting the 
troubled areas and ascertaining the facts be given by both 
Governments to the Deputy High Commissioner of the other 
Government. Such facilities, I might mention, have already 
been accorded to the Deputy High Commissioner of Pakistan 
in Calcutta. The Pakistan High Commissioner was also in 
Calcutta for some days. I further suggested to him that there 
be a rapid survey of the situation in the two Bengals by two 
fact-finding Commissions, each consisting of two representa- 



THE BENGAL ISSUE 


14S 

tives nominated by East and West Bengal respectively, of 
whom one would be a Minister. I expressed the hope that 
these Commissions should start functioning within a week. 
Also, I communicated to the Prime Minister of Pakistan some 
reports which we had been receiving about events in East 
Bengal. 

On February 18, 1 received a reply from the Pakistan 
Prime Minister. He agreed to give facilities to our Deputy 
High Commissioner to visit areas alleged to be affected. 
Regarding the proposal to send joint Commissions, he said 
that he would consult the Government of East Bengal. 
He suggested further that the two Governments -.Would 
issue a declaration that they did not favour — and would 
do everything possible to discourage — any movement of 
refugees. 

On February 20, I telegraphed to him again pressing for 
the acceptance of my suggestion for joint fact-finding Com- 
missions. In another telegram, I pointed out the gravity of the 
situation and suggested that he and I should visit the affected 
area together. This was to be in addition to the joint fact- 
finding Commissions. I have just received a reply to these 
telegrams. The Prime Minister of Pakistan says that in his 
opinion no joint Commission is necessary or desirable. He 
also thinks that if he and I were to tour East and West Bengal 
jointly, it would produce no useful result. He further believes 
that our High Commissioners will be able to supply full 
information after enquiry. He adds that according to his 
information the situation has become normal. 

Our High Commissioner in Karachi has gone to Dacca. I 
might mention that our Deputy High Commissioner at 
Dacca wanted to proceed to Barisal to study the situation 
there. The East Bengal Government has informed him that 
it has to consult the local authorities before it can give a 
definite reply and that this will take four days. It thus appears 
that even the agreement to permit our High Commissioner 
and Deputy High Commissioner to visit various parts of 
East Bengal is not being honoured. 

The Chief Minister of West Bengal made an offer of 
sending relief parties to the camps in Dacca with medicines 



144 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


and other supplies. The East Bengal Government has 
expressed its inability to accept it. 

It seems to me essential and imperative that the true 
facts should be known. Charges and counter-charges are 
made and excitement and passion go on mounting. In the 
circumstances, it is not enough for each Government to issue 
its own version of the facts. It was for this reason that I had 
made certain suggestions to the Prime Minister of Pakistan 
which he rejected. I still think that the fullest opportunities 
for investigation must be provided on each side. We have 
been and are prepared to give these opportunities. In addi- 
tion to the proposal I have made, I am suggesting that 
representatives of the International Red Cross, accompanied 
by Ministers or officials of each Government, should visit the 
affected areas in each province. 

I hope to keep the House informed of developments in 
Bengal. We are in constant touch with the West Bengal 
Government and with our Deputy High Commissioner in 
Dacca. Gradually, more facts are coming to our knowledge 
and it becomes clear that a major tragedy has occurred. It 
is, indeed, the duty of both the Governments to restore 
normality and to give succour to those who have suffered. I 
can say that the Government of West Bengal has endeavoured 
to do this duty with a large measure of success. 

While the present situation is serious enough and 
demands constant attention and action, the future problems 
that it raises are exceedingly grave. People talk vaguely of 
exchange of population but from any point of view such 
suggestions are totally unrealistic. Tens of millions of people 
cannot be uprooted and transported to distant places. It is 
true that in the Punjab migrations took place on a vast scale, 
bringing infinite suffering in their train. They took place 
because we were face to face with elemental forces and two 
newly formed Governments had suddenly to face a crisis. 
There is no such excuse now and both India and Pakistan 
should have the strength and capacity to discharge their pri- 
mary function of giving security and confidence to their 
people, whoever they might be. It is not our desire to interfere 
with the domestic affairs of Pakistan. But it would be idle to 



THE BENGAL ISSUE 


145 


say that we do not feel sympathy and anxiety when large num- 
bers of people in Pakistan have to undergo suffering and in- 
dignity in an extreme form. We have all along discouraged any 
migration and we wish to do so still. But if terror-stricken 
people come to us for refuge, we cannot say ‘no’ to them or 
refuse to give them the help they need. India and Pakistan 
may have become two different countries, separate from each 
other politically and in other respects; but large numbers of 
people live in one country who have intimate associations and 
relationship with people in the other. When in trouble, these 
people look to each other for shelter and help. 

It seems clear to us that a very large number of people, if 
not all, belonging to the minority community of Pakistan 
have lost all sense of security and live in fear and apprehen- 
sion. It is the bounden duty of Pakistan, as it is ours, to inspire 
confidence in the minorities so that the nationals of each 
country can live peacefully and practise their normal 
vocations. If a government is unable to inspii e that confidence 
and its own citizens are compelled by circumstances to take 
refuge in some other country then that government has failed 
to discharge its duty. 

Apart from the humanitarian, (here is another aspect of 
this problem which affects us. Communal bitterness in one 
country inevitably has repercussions in the other. If tragedies 
are enacted in Pakistan, they powerfully affect our people 
and we cannot remain indifferent to them. It is for the 
Government of Pakistan to consider seriously what the conse- 
quences are likely to be, if it is unable to give peace and 
security to its own people. 

The present situation provides an incentive to evil-doing. 
There is thus not only false propaganda to incite people but 
also opportunity for the evil-doer to indulge in loot and arson 
and to get away with it, even profit by it. If a government 
is serious about checking this evil it must punish the evil-doer 
and compensate the sufferer. 

I should like to make an appeal to our own people in this 
grave moment of crisis. If they desire that tire Government 
should take effective action whenever necessary, they must 
realize that perfect order and security must prevail in India. 



146 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


There are anti-social elements and communal groups who, 
in spite of their declared opposition to communalism, really 
function in tune with the intense communalism that prevails 
in Pakistan. These elements have to be checked, because they 
bring disrepute to our people and weaken the country. 
Because of the very seriousness of the situation, we must 
remain calm and determined and not indulge in loose 
language or action, which is improper and harmful. 

India has to face many serious problems. Among them is 
the problem of Kashmir. The House knows how much 
importance I attach to the latter, because behind it lie vital 
questions of principle and moral behaviour among nations. 
To me it appears that what has happened in Kashmir and 
what is happening in East Bengal is inter-linked and cannot 
be separated. We want peace in this country and with 
Pakistan and I have made this point repeatedly. But peace 
and goodwill cannot come by any superficial arrangement 
when the deep-seated causes of trouble and conflict continue. 
Today, the Bengal problem has first priority, because it 
governs so many other problems. For my part, I would like 
to devote myself chiefly to the particular issues of Bengal and 
Kashmir which, as I have said, are linked together in my 
mind. If the methods we have suggested are not agreed to, 
it may be that we shall have to adopt other methods. I am 
deeply troubled by recent events and my mind is constantly 
trying to find out how best I can deal with these issues and 
discharge my duty to my country and my people. 


MEETING THE CRISIS 


S ir, I am loath to take up more of your time but I feel I owe 
it to the House and to myself to say a few words to elucidate 
my previous statement. What I said seems to have provoked 
an hon. Member of this House, Mr Lakshmi Kanta Maitra, 

Reply to debate on the budget demand for the Ministry of External Affairs 
in Parliament, New Delhi, March 17, 1950 



MEETING THE CRISIS 


147 


to speak in terms of high emotion and excitement and 
righteous indignation. I want to make it perfectly clear that 
I have no complaint against Mr Lakshmi Kanta Maitra. 
Being at times prone to emotion and righteous indignation 
myself, I appreciate it in others. Nevertheless, I feel that his 
indignation and emotion today were misplaced. Or it may be 
that I did not explain my point of view clearly enough. 

Mr Lakshmi Kanta Maitra spoke with a great deal of 
feeling about the happenings in East Bengal. He spoke of the 
numerous letters and messages he had received about the 
sufferings and the indignities people had to endure. I may 
not have access to all the sources from which Mr Lakshmi 
Kanta Maitra derived his knowledge but I am also aware 
of the horrible things that have happened there. I happen 
to hold a responsible position and my decisions are not jaerely 
expressions of opinion but may have to be iranslated into 
action. Therefore, I must be careful that at this moment 1 
am not led away by emotion, excitement 01 indignation. 
Normally, I speak without having to keep a tight hold of 
myself. In this instance, however, I dare not allow myself 
to go because the responsibility and the consequences are too 
grave. That does not mean that I am unaware of what has 
happened; it is because of the very nature of the crisis, the 
depth of it and its far-reaching consequences that I hesitate to 
speak in unrestrained language. 

The burden of what I said was this: in the course of the 
last two and a half years there has followed what may be 
called a ‘squeezing out’ process, especially in Sind and in 
East Bengal. Some people say it is not deliberate or planned. 
Some people say it is not deliberate at the top but is so at the 
bottom or in the middle. Be that as it may, the main thing 
seems to be that in the Pakistan Government’s conception 
of the State, an inferior status is given to those who do not 
belong to the majority community. This, along with other 
things that have happened, gives the minorities a feeling of 
insecurity. And this widespread sense of insecurity tends to 
exaggerate anything that happens, thereby creating an 
atmosphere of suppression. Thus, what might otherwise be 
an isolated incident is transformed into a dangerous situation. 



148 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


I also said, in sufficiently clear language, that apart from 
the normal responsibilities of a State to other States or to 
people in other States, a peculiar relationship exists between 
the people in India and the people in Pakistan. I mentioned, 
in this connection, our old colleagues in the Frontier 
Province. I also mentioned very specially those who are in 
East Bengal and said that we could not rid ourselves of the 
feeling of the ultimate responsibility we have for them. They 
may be in danger and we owe it to them to give them protec- 
tion either in our territory or, if circumstances demand it, 
in their own. It is patent that, in the existing state of affairs, 
any protection they get in their territory can only come to 
them through the Government controlling that territory. 
That Government functions as it pleases and according to 
the circumstances in which it is placed. We can, of course, 
exert friendly pressure on the Pakistan Government to do 
certain things in a certain way but we cannot act indepen- 
dently of it. We cannot ignore it. The word given by a 
government has two kinds of values. The first is positive and 
has an effect on its own people and other people, whether you 
trust it or not. Secondly, it serves as the initial move from 
which subsequent steps follow. An hon. Member, 
Mr Hanumanthaiya, talked of an exchange of population. 
With all deference to him, I can say that, if he had given 
more thought to the problem, he would not have spoken as 
he did. This approach is completely devoid of intelligent 
thinking. I was amazed that any one should talk such utter 
nonsense. I am sorry to have to say this but it is a serious 
matter and people must not indulge in loose talk. 

A solution like the one that was suggested is not a solution 
at all because in the best of circumstances it will take at least 
half of a quarter of a generation to accomplish this. A solu- 
tion that will keep you hanging for years is of little use. No 
country can survive if it remains at boiling point year after 
year. We have kept the door open and people can come and 
go. When they come, it is up to us to make arrangements for 
them; but, however fast they come, large numbers must still 
remain behind. We cannot tolerate any danger coming to 
those who remain behind, wherever they are. That has got 



MEETING THE CRISIS 


149 


to be our main consideration. How, when and in what 
manner, we can achieve this purpose is quite another matter 
and one that is not easy to decide. But to suggest that we 
bring them over, even though we may have to spend the next 
ten years in the process, is folly. During these ten years, all 
kinds of disasters and dangers may beset us. The moment we 
■decide to get the minorities in Pakistan over, no matter how 
long it may take us, we will have to overhaul and change our 
past policy and principles completely. Not only that: from 
that moment the danger will also increase, because the people 
concerned will become aliens and have hardly any rights. 
They will just be waiting year after year to go ovei to the 
other side till transport is arranged; and all this while, they 
will have no rights except those of bare protection. That does 
not sound like a very happy solution of the problem. If it 
were so easy to accomplish this, we would go ahead but we 
have to watch carefully and go step by step. In so doing, we 
have to keep our heads, for this is a serious matter affecting 
not only our kith and kin today but also future generations 
and, perhaps, the whole future of India. Therefore, it is a 
terrible responsibility. 

I spoke this morning about the hydrogen bomb and I said 
that it was something that could destroy mankind. It amazes 
me that some people should talk lightly of it. I have felt for 
some time that, however disastrous the hydrogen bomb may 
be, it is, nevertheless, preferable to the kind of thing we have 
seen and heard of here in recent months. Let the world be 
utterly destroyed but let us not continue to live as brutes and 
beasts, ever sinking to lower levels. That is a challenge to the 
generation, a challenge to this House and to this Govern- 
ment. Are you going to fight the spread of beastliness and the 
barbarism that is overcoming us? You cannot fight evil with 
evil; you cannot fight barbarism with barbarism. You have 
to take up a civilized position and resist brutishness with all 
your might. Of course, we feel strongly about the people of 
East Bengal but we must realize our responsibility to them 
and in helping them try to find ways and means which are 
civilized and which adhere to the ideals we have held. 


II— It DPD/M 



THE RIGHT APPROACH 


I have been thinking of what would be the best way of 
dealing with this Motion, because there are so many 
aspects of it and the House, no doubt, is interested in all of 
them. 

Right from the first day that the Agreement came to be 
signed, many of our friends have been speculating about its 
success or failure. What exactly does this talk of success or 
failure of the Agreement mean? This Agreement was meant 
to deal with a particular situation and a very serious one that 
had arisen, especially in East Bengal, West Bengal, Assam 
and Tripura. It had affected the whole of India and also the 
relationship of India with Pakistan. The Prime Minister of 
Pakistan and I met to deal with that particular situation 
which, of course, was the outcome of many other things that 
had happened previously. No one thought — certainly I did 
not think — that this Agreement was going to solve the entire 
Indo-Pakistan problem. Apart from everything else, the 
House knows that there are a number of other matters of 
great importance that have not been settled. There is 
Kashmir, for instance; there is the problem of evacuee 
property which affects large numbers of people and the canal 
water question which has also assumed some importance. 
This Agreement obviously did not seek to solve all these 
major problems. 

This Agreement, then, was intended to deal with a 
particular situation which had come to a head in East and 
West Bengal and the surrounding areas. It was meant to 
check the general drift towards a catastrophe. It was designed 
to bring a certain measure of relief to vast numbers of people 
both in East Bengal and West Bengal, the minorities in both 
countries who had undergone great suffering and were living 
in constant fear. They were, in fact, prevented even from 
migrating by force of circumstances — not by any statute or 
law. The immediate object was to put an end to the grave 


Speech in Parliament on the Motion: “That the Bengal situation with 
reference to the Agreement between the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan 
signed on April 8 f 1950, be taken into consideration,** New Delhi, August 7, 1950 



THE RIGHT APPROACH 


151 


tension and danger, to bring relief to millions of people and 
to produce an atmosphere which would take us towards the 
solution of many of the important problems that had arisen 
in Bengal. We had hoped that, when the atmosphere 
improved, we could gradually take measures to bring about 
-some kind of solution. It must be pointed out, however, that 
the solution depends not only on agreements in regard to 
Bengal but on agreements covering the whole sphere of 
Indo-Pakistan relations. To talk, therefore, of the success or 
failure of this Agreement seems to me completely beside the 
point. 

Speaking, I hope, with due moderation, I would s«»v that 
few things to my knowledge have succeeded so much as this 
Agreement. Either those who talk of its failure are not in 
possession of the facts or there is something radically wrong 
with my thinking. One may say — and one could rightly say — 
that the position in West and East Bengal is not satis- 
factory. One may say that all kinds of difficulties exist there 
and that the minorities are not happy or secure. That is the 
problem and let us face it; but to say that the Agreement has 
failed does not mean anything to me. You may, perhaps, say 
that the Agreement has not solved the problem of Bengal 
completely. I never thought that it would, although I did 
think that it would help in bringing us nearer a solution to the 
problem. In my opinion, it has helped more than it was 
expected to. It is true that conditions in Bengal are not satis- 
factory; but it is also true that they are infinitely more 
satisfactory than they were. 

The main thing to remember is that we have been 
suffering in India, not only in Bengal but also in other parts 
— and probably in Pakistan also — from a fever, from a sickness 
which did not begin with the Partition but which the Partition 
certainly aggravated. We thought, perhaps mistakenly, that 
we could get rid of that fever by the surgical operation which 
was Partition. So, here is this deep-seated illness, the disease 
we are dealing with, which comes out in all shapes and forms 
and will no doubt take a considerable time to heal. If we are 
unable to solve the problem quickly and immediately, it is 
not surprising. We are dealing with enormous social and 



152 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1955 

economic upheavals affecting the minds of millions of 
people. 

We talk of migrations and there have been migrations on 
a tremendous scale since August 1947. But I should like the 
House to remember that the migrations did not begin in 
August 1947. They began earlier; in Bengal, a year before, 
with Noakhali and other places and in Punjab — especially 
from the Pindi and the Multan areas — in March 1947, that is, 
many months before Partition. There was that disease, that 
mounting fever at work which we tried to deal with in our 
own way. That is how the partition took place and we need 
not discuss at present whether it was right or wrong. Partition 
dealt with the disease to some extent but brought in other 
forms of eruption. We have been trying to face them and deal 
with them even since. 

I talked of this background because people seem to think 
that the troubles that we are faced with are easy of treatment 
and, perhaps, can even be treated by strong language, 
whether it takes the form of a resolution or a speech. May I 
also remind the House that during this period — if we look at 
this question objectively — Pakistan has not been the only 
source of the trouble we have had to face? There has been 
plenty of trouble which originated in our own country. We 
will not be taking a balanced view of the situation unless we 
look at both sides of the picture. I say so with all deference, 
because when I read the various amendments of which notice 
has been given, it seems to me that not- a single one of them 
has even tried to consider what has happened on this side. 
They have only looked at the sins and failings of others, not 
at our own. If we do that we would not only be acting 
wrongly but we would also fail to understand the situation. 
And if we do not understand the situation we must necessarily 
fail to deal with it. I find from the notices of the amendments 
that most of them want us to do something vis-a-vis the 
Pakistan Government. Most of them, in fact, want us to make 
Pakistan do something. 

Now, that raises an interesting issue. Pakistan is a foreign 
country. One deals with a foreign country, roughly speak- 
ing, in two ways. One is the way of negotiations with such 



THE RIGHT APPROACH 


15S 


pressure as can be exercised through them, whether the 
pressure is political, economic or diplomatic. The other is 
the way of war. There is no third way. These facts should be 
borne in mind. When hon. Members advise the Government 
to make Pakistan do this or that, what exactly do they mean? 
Would any hon. Member advise me to do this and that, let 
us say, in respect of the United States of America or the 
United Kingdom or Russia? We are dealing with a foreign 
country and we have to deal with it in accordance with 
normal international usage. I am not quite sure how far it is 
right and proper for a House like this to discuss a foreign 
country in terms of condemnation. It may be right foi aught 
I know but normally speaking I believe it is not done. 

Let us return to the actual facts of the case in «o far as 
Bengal is concerned. There is no doubt that conditions in 
East Bengal and West Bengal are not normal. There is no 
doubt that there is a feeling of frustration and insecurity in 
the minds of the minorities. Now, I shall express my own 
opinion for what it is worth, because one cannot judge. I 
think that on the whole, the Muslim minority in West Bengal 
— which also, I think, suffers from a feeling of frustration and 
a certain insecurity — is relatively more secure than the Hindu 
minority in East Bengal. Nevertheless, I want you to 
remember that the Muslims in West Bengal are frustrated, 
too. I say this with certainty and I also say, with a certain 
measure of knowledge, that this applies to a large number 
of Muslims in other parts of India also. Let us not, in any way, 
preen ourselves and say that we have done our duty by the 
minorities which others have failed to do. I am prepared to 
apply one test to Pakistan and India and, as far as I am 
concerned, it is an adequate and sufficient test. The test is 
what the minority thinks of the majority and not what the 
majority thinks. So long as the minority in Pakistan does not 
feel secure and does not trust the majority, there is something 
wrong there. I am prepared to apply this test to India, too. 
So long as the minority in India does not feel secure and is 
not prepared to repose its confidence in the majority, there is 
something wrong here, loo. We must consider both sides of 
the case objectively and fairly. If we do not do so, we put 



154 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-195S 

ourselves in the wrong and take a lop-sided view of the 
situation. 

There is so much talk of exodus. So many times it has 
been said that it is a one-sided exodus. 1 am amazed at the state- 
ment because nothing could be more untrue. It has not been 
a one-sided exodus, no, not for one day, not for one hour. How 
then can any one tell me that it is one-sided? True, there 
may be more on one side than on the other. True, on balance, 
the number on one side may be greater. But to go on repeat- 
ing that it is a one-sided affair is absolutely wrong and 
contrary to the facts. Look at the figures. I have supplied 
you with the figures and I stand by them. It is no use telling 
me that the figures are wrong. My figures are collected as 
such figures are normally collected, that is, through the 
railway and the Provincial Government operators. I have 
no agents of my own; it is the West Bengal Government and 
the Railway Department that jointly and separately work 
to get these figures for us. It is difficult, of course, to collect 
figures for people who may have crossed the borders on foot. 
We can only guess. But for people who travel by air, by 
steamer or by rail we can be fairly certain and we are fairly 
certain about them. Indeed, if you take the proportion of the 
Hindu minority in East Bengal and that of the Muslim 
minority in West Bengal and then compare the figures of 
exodus from the two Bengals, you will, I think, find that, 
relative to their populations, the exodus was more or less 
the same in each case. There is not much difference. It is 
clear that, both in East and West Bengal, conditions became 
unfavourable for the minorities and, in fact, exerted a strong 
pressure upon them to leave their hearths and homes and 
migrate. One can come to this conclusion without much 
thought. This House knows that many Muslims migrated 
from Uttar Pradesh, too. Again, one can say that the condi- 
tions produced were such that they were compelled to migrate. 
It is no good saying that they were asked by a few persons to 
do so. The fact is that in these conditions they were afraid, 
they felt insecure and left. Again, with the reversal of these 
conditions, they felt more secure and now they are coming 
back. If, therefore, you want to deal with the problem of 



THE RIGHT APPROACH 


155 


migration, you cannot do so by simply saying: ‘Here, we are 
spotlessly pure and our conduct is above board while there in 
Pakistan, people are sinful and are driving out the minorities.’ 
If that is said, I say it is not true. An untruth will not succeed 
and will not prosper. 

Now, coming back to the figures of migration, you will 
see that they are disturbing and they continue to create an 
increasingly difficult situation. Nevertheless, there is a great 
deal of improvement also. I cannot say if the rate of improve- 
ment is fast enough to catch up with the disturbing features 
of the situation. I am disturbed, I am distressed, I am not 
content with the things that are happening — that is natural; 
but if you examine the figures as well as certain other 
factors to which I shall refer, the situation is definitely 
improving. 

Now, I have said and 1 say again that in my opinion the 
Hindu minority in East Bengal feels insecure and, therefore, 
cannot settle down. They want to come away. Even if they 
remain, they do not know how long they will remain; I also 
think that gradually the relationship between the people is 
returning to normal. I am quite sure that the conditions are 
much better in West Bengal now. They are not quite normal 
yet and during the last two or three months there have been 
two or three bad incidents in West Bengal. Nevertheless, the 
Government and the people there have gradually got over 
them. It is not, however, easy for me to judge how fast the 
feeling of security will grow in East Bengal. On the whole, 
conditions are still very insecure there. The insecurity comes 
not from major incidents but rather from a breakdown of law 
and order. There are dacoities — plenty of them — and often 
enough, these dacoities take place in the houses of members 
of the minority community and we have had far too many 
complaints of molestation of women in connection with these 
dacoities. It is very difficult to say definitely how many of 
these complaints can be proved, because we receive them 
naturally from the refugees and sometimes they reach us two 
or three weeks after the incident. Nevertheless, we are trying 
to lay down a procedure whereby every complaint will be 
investigated fully, whether it is a complaint from us in regard 



156 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-195S 

to happenings in East Pakistan or from others in regard to 
incidents in West Bengal. 

There has, however, been a very definite improvement 
in regard to two matters. One concerns the abduction of 
women and the other, the so-called forcible conversions. 
According to our reports, forcible conversions have practi- 
cally stopped now. Our information in regard to the abduc- 
tion of women is that, although such cases occurred some 
months ago, no fresh ones have been reported. The number 
reported previously was also relatively small and each case is 
being investigated. Relatively speaking, the number is not 
great, though, of course, that is no reason why we should not 
have effective machinery to deal with such cases. 

One other factor must be remembered. It is admitted that 
the administrative apparatus of East Pakistan is poor. After 
Partition, most of the efficient officers came away to West 
Bengal or went elsewhere and left East Bengal with very 
junior and second-rate people to carry on the administration. 
Some, who were not in touch with the people of the Province 
and could not understand them, were imported from out- 
side. That is another difficulty in dealing with the lawlessness 
there. I have no doubt at all that the Central Government in 
Pakistan has, to the best of its ability, tried to give effect to 
the Agreement of April 8 as we have done here. I think, 
the Provincial Government of East Pakistan also tried to do 
the same. 

I have not, however, been quite clear about everything 
they have done. Some of their acts have seemed to me to be 
quite wrong. I am by no means certain, for instance, that 
the petty officials behaved correctly. According to the terms 
of the Agreement, we appointed two Central Ministers; 
our Government appointed a Minister and the Pakistan 
Government appointed one of theirs, and the two Ministers 
were specially charged with the responsibility for the imple- 
mentation of the Agreement. We have had the experience of 
their work for about two months; they have toured about a 
great deal and made various recommendations. In the course 
of the last few days I have been seeing a great deal of them 
because both of them were here along with the Chairmen of 



THE RIGHT APPROACH 


157 


the Minorities Commissions and the Chief Secretaries of both 
West and East Bengal. I should like to say that both these 
gentlemen — our own Minister, Mr Biswas, and the Pakistan 
Minister, Dr Malik — have, in my opinion, done extra- 
ordinarily good work. I need not say much about our own 
colleague, Mr Biswas, because he is our colleague; but I 
should like to express my appreciation of the work done by 
Dr Malik. So, we find honest people are trying to grapple 
with and solve a difficult situation. They are up against 
the evil designs of some people and the inertia of others. 
They have to contend against economic collapse, against 
the total breakdown, we might say, of social life, especially in 
East Pakistan. It is, indeed, a highly complicated situation. 
Nobody, not even the bravest of us, can solve the problem 
all of a sudden. We are trying to do our best. 

I should like to mention another thing which has 
troubled me considerably, namely, the question of requisition- 
ing houses in East Pakistan. We attached importance to this 
matter right from the beginning and I told Mr Liaquat 
Ali Khan that things were not very satisfactory. Suddenly in 
July, that is, less than a month ago, we had a number of 
complaints about requisitioning and we were naturally 
surprised. We protested. To my amazement, we were told 
that the houses were being requisitioned by agreement with 
the Government of India. When we enquired further, we 
learnt that I was thought to be the culprit; a letter from me 
to the Pakistan Government was referred to as proof of this. 
The letter I wrote dealt exclusively with agricultural land. 
We were discussing the question of giving back agricultural 
lands to the returning migrants. The Chief Minister of the 
West Bengal Government had said that it was a little difficult 
for him suddenly to push out the people, refugees and others, 
who had been placed there to cultivate the land. Owing to 
the delicate food situation, the lands could not be allowed to 
remain fallow. He further said that he would get back the 
lands after the harvest had been reaped. We had 'agreed, 
however, to give every kind of accommodation to the return- 
ing migrants in the intervening period. There was some 
argument about this. I had written to the Pakistan Govern- 



158 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949 1955 


ment telling them what the Chief Minister of West Bengal 
had said to me. I had also agreed that these people be allowed 
to remain on the lands till they had gathered the harvest. If 
the Pakistan Government wanted to do this, obviously, we 
could not object. We were only talking about agricultural 
land but they apparently extended my meaning and 
applied it to urban properties, including houses. They 
started requisitioning on a large scale. I think 811 houses 
in East Bengal w r ere requisitioned during the month of 
July alone. 

I would like to draw your attention to another aspect of 
the East Bengal situation. We talk about forty lakhs of people 
having come away from East Bengal since the Partition. 
Half of them came before this year, long before this Agree- 
ment was concluded. Quite a number of them came almost 
immediately after the Partition, because they wanted to 
come away and that process, though slow, still continues. 
Mostly, it is the middle class elements that are leaving East 
Bengal on account of the pressure of circumstances. They 
have, in a sense, been squeezed out of East Bengal; they 
could not carry on their professions successfully, whether it 
was practice at Llie bar or the medical or any other profession. 
Many, however, stayed on. After all, you must remember 
that nearly a crore of Hindus are still in East Pakistan. It is a 
very large number. A very large number of middle class 
people have come away, especially people like teachers, 
after the February-March disturbances. As a result, schools 
were closed; educational institutions ceased to function; in 
short, the normal life of the minority community was com- 
pletely upset. 1 do not know what the future holds. It may be 
that some new equilibrium will be established. Some people 
say that not a single Hindu can remain in East Bengal. I am 
not a prophet; I cannot say. Something may happen 
tomorrow to worsen the relations between India and 
Pakistan. That would widen the gap and make it more 
difficult for us. On the other hand, something may happen 
to bridge the gap. There are so many uncertain quantities 
that I cannot say what will happen. Normally speaking, I 
see no reason why a very large number of Hindus should not 



THE RIGHT APPROACH 


159 


remain in East Bengal and a very large number of Muslims 
in West Bengal. Since the Agreement on April 8, there has 
been a continuous flow back of the minorities, both Hindu 
and Muslim, who had migrated previously. Since 1 gave you 
the figures in the printed leaflet, there have naturally been 
many changes in the situation. Up to the third of this month, 
the figure for the Hindus who had gone back to Pakistan 
from West Bengal was 600,000. It is, undoubtedly, a consider- 
able number. A number of them, no doubt, go there to 
fetch their goods and chattel. Our own estimate is that 
the figure is 15 per cent for those who come back. Out of 
the 600,000, we may say 100,000 have come back. Even 
so half a million people have stayed on. Again, if you 
examine the figures, you will find that the people who go 
back take with them their women and children. Normally 
speaking, people do not take women and children with 
them, if they are just going to remove their personal 
property. 

The various amendments that have been proposed mostly 
refer to Pakistan. Whether it is a question of exchange of 
population in that region or elsewhere or some kind of 
territorial redistribution or whether it is simply, as some 
people say, an annulment of the Partition, 1 must confess 
that when I read such proposals or resolutions passed by 
responsible people, I begin to wonder whether they are sane. 
Something must be wrong somewhere; and, naturally, as I 
cannot examine my own mental apparatus, I suspect, that 
of the others has gone wrong. Now, if people talk of an 
annulment of the Partition in connection with the Bengal 
problem or the refugee problem, it raises a number of issues. 
One of them, of course, is that they are proposing something 
which involves a war on a prodigious scale. And even if we 
go through with such a war, what will happen after it is too 
terrible to contemplate. And, in any case, a hostile approach 
is of no help to the minorities. Now, with all deference, I 
would like each hon. Member to consider how is either an 
individual member of the minority community or the 
minority community as a whole going to be helped in this 
way. A way that involves conflict on a large scale means that 



180 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 

the first victims of that conflict will be the minorities them- 
selves. It also involves general uprooting and upsetting 
without doing anything to produce the condition for 
rehabilitation we talk so much about. By the time the way 
of war bears fruit, the minorities or a good part of them 
may cease to exist. Every one of the proposals I have received 
involves an upheaval, a conflict and sometimes, though not 
always, war. Of course, you may say that everything that is 
in the national interest is worthwhile. You may be willing 
to pay a heavy price for it. I can understand that argument 
even though I do not agree with it. You cannot say that 
your proposals, if put into effect, will help the minorities 
because what you suggest will, in fact, only cause them the 
greatest possible distress and possibly much worse. It will 
uproot them completely. 

Now, take the proposal regarding the exchange of popula- 
tion. I ventured to describe it some months ago as a 
completely impracticable and fantastic proposal. I would 
like to repeat that it is fantastic and impracticable and that 
this Government will have nothing to do with it. Further- 
more, it is completely opposed to our political, economic, 
social and spiritual ideals. If you want to have an exchange 
of population, then you must change the whole basis of not 
only this Government but of all that we have stood for these 
thirty odd years and during the movement for freedom in 
this country. If people who have never had that basic back- 
ground float about without any conviction or anchorage or 
faith, I can understand it. But we have a certain anchorage 
and if we lose that we shall lose ourselves, too. Therefore, let 
us be quite clear that these proposals are fantastic and 
impracticable not only because they involve war or some- 
thing approaching war but also because in trying to work 
them out you will destroy the minorities, uproot millions of 
others and spend the rest of your life and that of the next 
generation in trying to rehabilitate them. Something even 
more im portant is involved in this. It is a question of faith 
and it involves our whole spiritual background which is 
even more important than the inconvenience and the distress 
which an action may cause us. Therefore, I would beg the 



THE RIGHT APPROACH 


161 


House to consider this question both from the idealistic and 
the practical point of view. 

People say that this Agreement has failed, that it has, 
anyway, not accomplished anything. That is all very well but 
the Agreement is not a law unto itself. Sometimes, some of 
our own Secretaries to the Government carry on a tremendous 
amount of correspondence with East Bengal or West Bengal 
about the interpretation of this or that line in the Agree- 
ment, as if it were a final statute which has to be interpreted. 
I have no patience, I am sorry to say, with this kind of 
business and I have told them so. Leave aside the Agree- 
ment; let us consider the problem itself. What are you going 
to interpret there? After all, the importance of the Agree- 
ment is in its approach, not in this article or that paragraph. 
Where necessary, we can change the paragraph and make a 
fresh agreement. The whole point is in the approach of the 
Agreement and the approach of the Agreement, as the 
House knows, was such as thrilled the whole country; it 
made a difference to the world, it made a difference to 
millions and millions of people, Hindus and Muslims, in 
India and in Pakistan. The friendly approach made them 
feel that a great burden was going to be lifted from their 
shoulders, that we were going to settle our differences by 
friendly discussions and negotiations. If we perform out 
duty, others are likely to perform theirs and we will almost 
be in a position to enforce performance on their part. But if 
we do not do our job and fulfil our duty, then surely we have 
neither the right nor the strength to make others do their 
duty. 

It is no good having an approach which is neither here 
nor there. I can understand — though I disapprove of it — the 
attitude of defiance and war. I can also understand the 
friendly approach but I do not understand a middle course 
which does not have the advantages of either. It is a weak 
man’s approach. You get neither the benefits of a friendly 
approach nor those of the approach of defiance which takes no 
account of the consequences. Therefore, we have nothing to 
do with a middle approach. And, as far as I can see, there will 
be no warlike approach. Therefore, we inevitably have to 



162 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


fall back upon the other approach, namely, that of negotia- 
tions. And having accepted this method of approach, let us 
not talk about it as something which we do not believe in, 
which we have no faith in and one which we think is bound 
to fail. Surely, we did not accept it out of the generosity of 
our hearts, knowing that we would give it up a few months 
later! If we disagree with anything, let us fight it by political 
or other means and put an end to it; but a kind of constant 
inner sabotage is not going to do any good. 

Therefore, I submit that, so far as this Agreement is 
concerned, it has done a great deal of good. It has not solved 
the problem; nor was it expected to do so. The problem in 
all its aspects is still there for us to deal with but we must do 
so in the spirit of the Agreement and not pay too much atten- 
tion to its details. The only valid alternative is defiance and 
conflict. 

The position is a grave one. I do not wish to underesti- 
mate the gravity of the situation in the least but I do submit 
that every single proposal which I have seen — I mean the 
amendments — will add to the gravity and the mischief of the 
situation and will certainly not ease it. It is in the spirit of 
friendly negotiations that I would have this House approach 
this matter, remembering that it is indecorous to criticize a 
foreign government from this House. If we were to do so, 
they will criticize us in their Assemblies and, normally 
speaking, it is not a practice which an honourable House 
like this should encourage. 


THE ATMOSPHERE OF SECURITY 

F or two whole days we have discussed this grave problem 
and many feeling speeches have been made. Various points 
of view have been expressed, often in forceful and passionate 
language. Whatever the other differences, we are all agreed 

Reply to debate on the Bengal situation in Parliament, New Delhi, August 9, 
1950. 



THE ATMOSPHERE OF SECURITY 


163 


on one thing, namely, that the matter under consideration is 
of grave import. I regret that the subject has not been dealt 
with in a constructive way. On the contrary, it has been 
treated from a political and destructive point of view. There 
may be a difference of opinion as to what the facts are but 
the difference can be at least partly settled by considering all 
the facts we have, carefully and objectively. 

It is important to decide what our approach to this 
question will be, because that will govern our interpretation 
of the facts and our subsequent actions. This question covers 
many aspects, national and international, political and 
economic, social and communal and, above all, the human 
aspect. We have to deal with all of them; for the question 
before us affects millions of our countrymen and, naturally, 
anything that affects them has to be considered primarily in 
its human aspects. 

What are the principles which should govern our 
approach? By what yardstick do we measure things? 
What are our ideals and objectives in regard to our country? 
Unless those objectives are clear, we are likely to flounder and 
lose ourselves in a morass of misleading detail. 

Now, as I was listening to the speeches during the last 
two days, I felt that there was a great variety in the many 
approaches that were outlined. It seems to me that we — this 
House as well as this country — ought to be fairly clear as to 
what our objectives and aims are so that the steps we take 
might fit in with those ideals and objectives and into the 
picture of the India that we seek to build. Otherwise, we 
shall be continually in difficulty and I do submit that one of 
our major difficulties in the past has been this varied and 
often contradictory approach to such problems. You cannot 
have an approach that is friendly and hostile at the same 
time. 

It is very likely that the Motion that I have tabled will, 
to put it colloquially, be ‘talked out’; I should have liked — 
whether it is now or at a later stage is immaterial — this 
House to come to grips with the basic approach and principle 
that should govern our outlook and come to some clear deci- 
sion. It is not fair to this House, to this Government or to the 



164 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1955 


unfortunate individual who happens to be the Prime Minister 
that we should waste our time and energy in meaningless 
conflicts and squabbles because our basic premise varies 
from individual to individual. Therefore, it would be desir- 
able for this House and for the great organization that many 
of us represent to lay down clearly how the present problem 
should be approached. 

Now, the Congress approach has remained uniform all 
this time and it is the bounden duty of this Government to 
follow that approach and none other. Broadly speaking, the 
Congress approach stands for equality, for the underdog and 
for the uplift of the people. 

An hon. Member, Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee, expressed 
himself in a language altogether different from ours and 
approached the problem in an .entirely different way. Of 
course, he is not bound down by the Congress approach; nor 
have his past activities been conditioned by it. I may disagree 
— as I did — with Dr Mookerjee’s approach to this problem; 
but I admit his right to follow his own approach and to 
express it fully. But I must confess that I was greatly surprised 
and somewhat distressed at the fact that many of our 
colleagues in this House, who are supposed to follow the 
basic Congress approach on which we have built up our 
policies and activities through the major part of our lives, 
treated it casually and tried, in fact, to reject it, to by-pass it, 
to ignore it, as if it did not exist at all or, perhaps, to think that 
in the present circumstances, it had no more force left in it. 
If there is no more force left in the approach of the Congress, 
we must examine the ideology which governed all our 
activities in the past and find out whether it still has any force. 
Surely, we are not without any ideology, without any ideals 
or objective, just living from day to day and reacting to 
individual circumstances! It is an important matter to 
consider, because we are face to face with grave issues in 
India and in the world. We may ignore the world but as the 
recent debate in this House showed, it is not a question of our 
ignoring the world or the world ignoring us. If there is a war 
in the world, it will inevitably affect our individual lives. 
Therefore, we must be careful as to how we look at the 



THE ATMOSPHERE OF SECURITY 


165 


problems which act and interact and affect one another. 

Dr Mookerjee referred in an eloquent speech to a number 
of instances — I think he gave three specific instances — and 
then he threw at us a vast number of figures which he said 
his followers had gathered. He gave certain indications, too, 
of how he thought we might deal with the problem of Bengal. 

It is difficult for me to deal with the figures that he gave, 
because I cannot check them. We also gather our impres- 
sions and our own figures through Government agencies and 
many private agencies. The West Bengal Government, 
naturally, helps us; so does our Deputy High Commissioner; 
we also get help from the Central Government machinery 
and the Railways. In addition, fortunately, there are many 
brave men who are working for us under difficult circum- 
stances in East Bengal and in West Bengal. So, we get all 
these facts and figures and impressions and, from these, try 
to form a composite picture. 

That picture and those figures differ very greatly from 
those that Dr Mookerjee placed before the House. I am 
unable to accept them and I do not see how the House 
can accept them either. In any event, one would require 
some kind of proof and I do submit that Dr Mookerjee 
himself, if he examined them, would not accept them, because 
they have no prima facie evidence to support them. I am 
referring, for die moment, not to the instances of brutality 
but the individual cases that he referred to. He mentioned 
three of them and they were bad in the sense that they were 
painful cases. I have no doubt that these cases must be true; 
what I object to, however, is his talking about 600 to 1,000 
incidents which have been gathered from people who have 
suffered and are excited, who often repeat things and whose 
cases have sometimes been found, on investigation, not to 
be based on any evidence whatsoever. 

Srimati Renuka Ray and Srimati Sucheta Kripalani also 
spoke feelingly about the matter. It is right that all of us. 
especially our women Members, should feel the utter misery 
of what our brothers and sisters have gone through. But there 
are two points which I should like to place before the House. 
Srimati Renuka Ray was rather angry, if I may use the word, 

12 — 11 DPD/66 



160 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


with the expression that Sri Shankarrao Deo had used, viz., 
kahani, which she perhaps misunderstood. Sri Shankarrao 
Deo was referring to kahani not in the sense of a fable but in 
the sense of an incident, the story of an incident. 

Anyhow, there is no doubt that such incidents have 
occurred and, as Dr Mookerjee gave three, I am sure many 
Members of this House can — certainly I can — add to that 
number. But the point is, are we going to consider this very 
grave matter merely in the context of certain deplorable and 
unhappy incidents and wallow in a sentimental morass and 
lose grip of the situation? We are a responsible House 
dealing with something that may affect the fate of the whole 
nation and may have even wider consequences. So, we must 
not be swept away, as at a public meeting, by a sentimental 
approach and appeal. That is why we have met in all serious- 
ness to consider this matter. 

Dr Mookerjee was good enough to invite me to visit 
Sealdah Station. I would gladly go there and I shall go there 
when I have a chance and when I think my visit will be of 
some use. I do not want to go there merely to make a gesture. 
That is not fair to those unhappy refugees nor is it fair to me. 
During the last three years we have had enough of tragedy 
and we have had our fill of horror. We have, with our own 
eyes, seen things which have left a permanent impression on 
our minds. I do not think any one who has gone through 
those experiences, whether in Bengal or the Punjab, whether 
in West Pakistan or East Pakistan or in this city of Delhi itself, 
will ever forget them. We seek a way of putting an end to this 
suffering. If we cannot do so, then surely our fate is going to 
be much worse. We shall suffer, not merely terrible misery 
but, worse still, inhuman degradation because brutality 
degrades everybody. It degrades the sufferer; it degrades also 
the person who makes others suffer. 

Therefore, when these terrible things happened, for the 
first time in my public career, grave doubts assailed me and 
the future of my country, which was rising like a star, grew 
dim. It was not only because of what Pakistan had done. 
After all, my future is going to be governed by what my 
people do, not by what Pakistan does, just as their future will 



THE ATMOSPHERE OF SECURITY 


167 


be governed by what their people do. No doubt, what they 
do affects us. But, ultimately, my concern is with what my 
people do. Doubts came to my mind and it seemed to me that 
the noble edifice we were seeking to raise had been shaken to 
its foundations and that the strength and stability of the 
outline that we had planned for the structure had been 
undermined. 

May I take the House into confidence about a certain 
matter which is, perhaps, known only to a few of my 
colleagues? It is a personal matter and, therefore, I 
apologize for the intrusion. When I heard that the 
disturbances in East Bengal had terrible repercussions in 
West Bengal and that all kinds of evil deeds were being 
perpetrated, particularly in Calcutta and Howrah, I was 
greatly upset. I was upset, as the House can well imagine, 
not only as an individual caring for my people and sympathiz- 
ing with them in their miseries but as the Prime Minister, 
because I felt that in the ultimate analysis, the responsibility 
was mine. It was mine, not directly, perhaps, but in an 
indirect way, for the things that happened in East Pakistan; 
nevertheless, the responsibility was very directly mine for the 
things that had taken place in any part of India. 

I knew that the military and police would do their job 
well or indifferently as the case might be. But there was 
something afoot which was deeper. It was not by soldiers and 
policemen that we can solve such problems. How could I, I 
wondered, affect the minds and hearts of the millions of 
people who are my own countrymen and also, if possible, 
those millions who are across the border? I did not see the 
way clearly as a Government or as the Prime Minister. The 
House will remember that I offered to the Prime Minister of 
Pakistan to undertake a brief tour of East Bengal and West 
Bengal with him. He, unfortunately, did not accept the offer. 

The painful predicament of not being able to do anything 
from here in Delhi worried me. Ultimately, I came to the 
conclusion that, perhaps, I had exhausted my utility as Prime 
Minister and there might be other ways in which I could 
make myself more useful. Having arrived at that decision, I 
announced it at a full meeting of the Cabinet and told them 



168 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-195S 

that I felt that my duty lay in East Bengal. If I was not 
allowed to go there in my official capacity, perhaps, I could 
go there unofficially, as a simple citizen of India and nobody 
would prevent me from going there. Perhaps, my going 
there — I could not attach too great a value to it — might be a 
gesture which would affect the minds of some people, would 
at least be a relief to me. I also told the Cabinet of my distress 
at the way the ideals of the Congress for which we had stood 
were fast fading away. I was left with nothing to fall back on. 

It so happened that, very soon after, events took a new 
turn. Mr Liaquat Ali Khan came here at my invitation and 
for six or seven days we discussed matters and out of that 
discussion emerged the Agreement of April 8. Now, that 
Agreement put a new responsibility and a new burden on 
me. I was responsible for that Agreement, partly at least. 
That responsibility was later shared by the whole Govern- 
ment and this House. But, initially, it was my responsibility 
and I could not see my way to resigning from the Prime 
Ministership just at a time the new responsibility had fallen 
on me. So, I held on as I did. Whether it was right or not, I 
do not know; whether it is right for me now to hold on to 
this high office, I do not know. The moment I feel that I can 
serve the country better in some other capacity, I shall adopt 
a different course. 

So, when we consider the problem of Bengal, let us for 
the moment put aside one or two things-— not that they are 
not important, they are highly important — in order to 
consider it in a simpler fashion. First of all, let us put aside 
the incidents that have taken place. We admit them and we 
know that life is insecure in many places. We know all that. 
We have to find a remedy for them. The second thing is — and 
that is a very major question — the question of rehabilitation. 
In a sense, that should overshadow most other considerations. 
I wish that this House in the course of this debate had 
considered that matter more constructively than it did. 
Unfortunately, it was dealt with in a spirit of negation and 
destructive criticism. It did not, therefore, help me very 
much. It is a matter in which this House, I hope, will take a 
great interest and we would welcome every kind of interest, 



THE ATMOSPHERE OF SECURITY 


every kind of help, because it is a question which the Govern- 
ment with all its faith and all the resources at its command 
cannot solve without a large measure of public co-operation 
and sympathy. 

It is too big a question. None of our big questions can be 
solved by a government decree. Even if we had all the 
money for it, we could not have solved it without strong 
public support. And who can give that support more than 
the hon. Members of this House? I should like some of the 
hon. Members to go — some of them have already done so— to 
Bengal, especially to East Bengal. They should go and see 
things for themselves and help in creating the right 
atmosphere. 

I gave this House a certain pamphlet containing some 
figures and other information and many hon. Members have 
cited it. An hon. Member has argued that since it does not 
contain information about rehabilitation in East Pakistan, 
East Pakistan must have done nothing about rehabilitation. 
I do not think this to be legitimate criticism, because the 
pamphlet was not, by any means, meant to be an exhaustive 
report on the subject. It was given under the Speaker's 
directions and it contained, in a consolidated form, the 
answers to some questions that had been asked by hon. 
Members. In fact, I gave the answers myself. So, it is not right 
to criticize it for its brevity. The figures we gave were obtained 
from the West Bengal Government. As for East Bengal, I 
know that something is being done to rehabilitate the 
refugees but I cannot tell you immediately what it is. 

I shall put aside, for the moment, the question of 
rehabilitation, though I realize its importance. I shall also 
put aside for the moment the narrative of the evil deeds that 
have undoubtedly taken place. I shall consider instead how 
we must face the problem. Dr Mookerjee put forward three 
proposals. Those proposals, I take it, were in keeping with 
the recent resolutions passed by the Refugee Conference. 
Some Members of this House approved of one or more of 
those proposals and some did not approve of them at all. 
Anything that the Members of this House put forward is, 
obviously, worthy of full consideration. I have given every 



170 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


possible thought to the proposals put forward by Dr 
Mookerjee. I have still not been able to get away from a 
feeling of great surprise that any responsible person should 
put forward any of the proposals, because, looked at from any 
point of view, whether from the point of view of an objective 
or an ideal or from the practical or the opportunist point of 
view, I say each one of them fails and fails completely. 
Analyse them. Let us not, in our feeling of anger at what has 
happened, take leave of logic and reason and of the practical 
aspect. I hope, of course, that we do not ignore the idealistic 
aspect because I always attach great importance to it but let 
us look at it primarily from a practical point of view. 

I mentioned in my opening remarks day before yesterday 
that the entire object of the Agreement of April 8 was to create 
a certain atmosphere. We have spoken of the feeling of in- 
security that prevails in East Bengal. There is that feeling of 
insecurity, although I believe — I hope it is not wishful think- 
ing — that it is gradually lessening. Anything may happen to 
increase that feeling of insecurity or to decrease it. I am no 
prophet and I do not know what will happen. Some people 
believe that every single member of the minority community 
will leave East Bengal. Well, they have a right to their 
opinions. I will only submit that I find no reason for think- 
ing so. Further, I would submit that if I had reasons for 
thinking so at present, I would try my utmost even then to 
prevent that from happening. I would not say anything or 
do anything which would encourage the Hindu minority to 
leave, because mass migration creates a terrible problem. 

On the one hand, we point out the danger of the problem 
and, on the other, do things which aggravate it. This great 
contradiction has come in our way all the time. What, then 
is our approach to be? Are we going to approach it with a 
real desire to solve it — so far as such problems can be solved 
— by creating a feeling of security in the minds of the 
minorities everywhere? Or, shall we, while we complain 
of the lack of security, make the situation still worse by our 
speech and action? Hon. Members have said that people 
in East Bengal have not come away because of newspaper 
articles or of public speeches and that there are other causes. 



THE ATMOSPHERE OP SECURITY 


171 


Of course, there are other causes. Surely, a newspaper speech 
or an article cannot make a million people leave their hearths 
and homes; but when the mind of the people is disturbed as 
profoundly as it is today and the people are full of fear, then 
every little thing counts. We are, indeed, dealing not only 
with an economic or social upheaval but with a psychological 
problem of the first magnitude. 

I think it is admitted all round that the psychological and 
the practical effect of the Agreement of April 8 was to reduce 
the fear of the minorities everywhere. There is no doubt that 
it did reduce their fear. Therefore, it can be said to have 
worked in the right direction. It is no use thinking about the 
results before we have created the right atmosphe»e. I must 
repeat that by removing from the people’s minds ‘he fear of 
an immediate disaster, the Agreement achieved a great thing 

Many things that you and I may do, this debate, for 
instance, will certainly have a reaction elsewhere; it may add 
to the insecurity or lessen it. India listens, in fact, the world 
listens to what the hon. Members say here in their speeches, 
even though this is not a public platform. Many people do 
not read the newspapers and the many things that are said 
here may not reach them; yet we know how millions of 
people are influenced by them, how a whisper spreads from 
town to town, from bazar to bazar. I can well imagine it 
said, 'Oh ! the Indian Parliament has decided this or that.’ 

If my good friend, Dr Mookerjee, says in his speeches that 
things are insecure, that things are becoming more and more 
insecure, then that itself is undoubtedly something which 
adds to the insecurity, that undoubtedly comes in the way of 
a gradual return to normality. Of course, Dr Mookerjee may 
try his best and I may also do my best but other factors may 
be stronger. We have no control over die Pakistan Govern- 
ment and are not free to do what we like. My point is, we 
should first control what we can control and only then can 
we try to control others with some assurance. There has been 
this contradiction all the time. Some people, some events, 
some factors have been working for the creation of a gradual 
feeling of normality and succeeding to some extent, while 
other factors have been working in a contrary direction. 



172 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


thereby contributing to the feeling of insecurity. 

May I mention another matter? The very first proposal 
which Dr Mookerjee put forward was a demand for the 
unification of India and Pakistan. It is phrased in courteous 
language. But what does it mean? It means, as every one 
knows, war. It means not only war which is bad enough but 
the creation of new problems before the old ones are solved. 
Wars do not solve problems; they only give rise to new ones. 

Yesterday, my friend, Sri Gopalaswami Ayyangar, 
pointed out that in the Agreement arrived at between 
India and Pakistan, we had stated that we would not permit 
propaganda for unification or for war. On some occasions. 
Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee himself was a party to these 
conferences. I should like to read to the House a particular 
clause in the Agreement of April 8. "The two Governments 
further agree that they shall not permit propaganda in either 
country directed against the territorial integrity of the other 
or purporting to incite war between them and shall take 
prompt and effective action against any individual or orga- 
nization guilty of such propaganda." 

Mark these words, and I say that I fail in my duty if I do 
not act up to them. I cannot, however, act up to them for 
various reasons: primarily, because we have a noble Consti- 
tution and laws which protect civil liberty in a variety of 
ways, even protecting uncivil liberty and licence. Therefore, 
I cannot give effect to my pledged word and it hurts me not 
to be able to do so. 

Look at it in another way. What effect does this talk of 
unification, behind which lie force, compulsion and war, 
produce in regard to the security of the minorities? Can they 
have a feeling of security when they constantly hear of war 
coming? If the Pakistan Government tells us that we 
threaten it by the talk of war, what is to be our reply? We 
have none except to say that we and our Government dis- 
sociate ourselves completely from this wrong and harmful 
propaganda, that our country does not support propaganda 
and .that we shall fight it to the utmost. That is all we can say. 

Normally, it does not require an agreement between two 
countries to say that they will not seek territorial changes of 



THE ATMOSPHERE OF SECURITY 


17S 


this, type which, in fact, means a liquidation of those 
countries. No country can enter into such agreements. 
Pakistan has its separate entity and sovereign status as we 
have. We have an Ambassador at Karachi; they have an 
Ambassador here. We are represented in the United Nations 
and so are they. It follows, then, not only in international law 
blit iii accordance with every human and sensible approach 
to international problems, that no country can go on propa- 
gating the idea of putting an end to the Government or the 
system of another country. And yet, some of our people are 
irresponsible enough to indulge in such propaganda. Is it 
the way to solve the problem of the exodus? As I stand here, 
a gentleman, who is the President of the organization of 
which Dr Mookerjee was a respected member, is going about 
in East Punjab close to the border and in PEPSU advocating 
in his own particularly aggressive and pugnacious manner 
the annulment of the Partition and the unification of Pakistan 
and India by force. 

The first proposal was for the liquidation of Pakistan and 
the third proposal was for territorial redistribution which 
involves major changes and which can only be brought about 
by war. Is it not an extraordinary proposition that 
individuals, who are presumably responsible, should go 
about telling people all this, thereby endangering 
international relations, embarrassing the relations between 
the two Governments and generally creating a feeling of 
insecurity in the country? Now, to come back to the specific 
problem which has been so much discussed, i.e., the feeling 
of insecurity in the minority community of East Bengal, may 
I, in all humility, ask Dr Mookerjee or any one who thinks in 
the same way, ‘Do you add to the security of the minority 
community by putting forward these proposals?’ What will 
the reaction on Pakistan or on the minorities be? Realizing 
that there are groups in India which want war against it, 
which want to eliminate and liquidate it, the Pakistan 
Government must, naturally, react in a hostile way, in a way 
which cannot conduce to the security of the minority commu- 
nities in the areas concerned. The proposals are, therefore, 
the worst possible approach to the problem of security. 



1?4 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-195* 

I have not the shadow of a doubt in my mind that if all of 
us, including Dr Mookerjee, had set ourselves — forget the 
Pact for the moment— to create a feeling of security among 
the minorities in East Bengal and in West Bengal, though we 
would not, perhaps, have solved the problem completely, 
we would certainly have gone much farther towards a solu- 
tion than we have now. And what is more, we would have 
solved it in the right way, in a way which adds to our strength 
and to the strength of the minorities. In the long run, the 
police or the military cannot protect people. They must have 
the strength to protect themselves. 

I wonder if hon. Members remember the effect the non- 
co-operation and the civil disobedience movement had on 
the people. The object was to create strength in the people 
and it succeeded, because even the poorest peasant whose back 
had been broken by centuries of labour stood up, straightened 
his back and looked his landlord in the face. 

Similarly, the object of the Agreement was to strengthen 
the morale of the people. Now, I submit that everything that 
weakens the morale of the minorities, wherever they are, is 
a basic and fundamental disservice to humanity because it 
reduces their value as citizens and as human beings. There- 
fore, I say that the acceptance of the two proposals I have 
mentioned is completely out of the question. They must be 
resisted by everyone who gives thought to their implications. 

I shall now come to the proposal which touches upon the 
exchange of population. In the present context this can only 
mean a forcible exchange of population. As far as voluntary 
exchange is concerned, it is already taking place. The doors 
are open and people come and people go. In fact, it is taking 
place at such a pace that we can hardly cope with it. Indeed, 
it has created what is called the refugee problem. Now, on 
the one hand, we are unable to cope with this problem 
because of the pace at which the voluntary exchange is taking 
place; on the other, it is suggested that the pace should be 
increased, that the process be made speedier. They say it 
should be a planned exchange, as if the addition of the word 
‘planned’ makes any difference. Plan, by all means. Nobody 
prevents people, for instance, from rehabilitating the 



THE ATMOSPHERE OF SECURITY 


175 


incoming refugees. But if we fail in this, what guarantee is 
there that we would succeed if ten times the present number 
of people should suddenly come? We are bound to fail. 
Planning depends on the planners, on the human material 
and on a hundred other factors. It is not confined to the 
question of money, though of course money is necessary. 

Apart from the principles these proposals violate, these 
proposals are unacceptable even from the practical point of 
view. In fact, far from taking us towards a solution, they take 
us miles away from any solution. That is why I ventured to 
say on the first day that I wondered if I was lacking in sanity 
or whether some of the hon. Members were lacking in it. 

An exchange of population must be a compulsory one. It 
must inevitably mean sending away people who do not want 
to go. It means, of course, as an hon. Member acknowledged, 
scrapping our Constitution. Scrap it if you want to but know 
what you are doing. We have bandied about the word 
‘secular’, which I dislike. It means acknowledging our inabi- 
lity to cope with any national problem in a civilized manner. 
This brutal and barbarous approach would be unique in the 
annals of history and, of course, completely at variance with 
all that the Congress has stood for. You are certainly at 
liberty to put an end to the Congress itself but do so with your 
eyes open. Such proposals shame us in the eyes of the world. 
They show that we are narrow, petty-minded, parochial 
bigots who talk of democracy and secularism but who, in 
fact, are totally incapable of even thinking in terms of the 
world or of this great country. They put us in a position in 
which we have to say to people who are our own fellow- 
citizens, ‘We must push you out, because you belong to 
a faith different from ours.’ This is a proposition which, if it 
is followed, will mean the ruin of India and the annihilation 
of all that we stand for and have stood for. I repeat that we 
will resist such a proposition with all our strength, we will 
fight it in houses, in fields and in market places. It will be 
fought in the council chambers and the streets, for we shall 
not let India be slaughtered at the altar of bigotry. 

Some hon. Members have talked of compensation for 
property and of planned exchange. Property is, no doubt, an 



176 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-195S 

important thing in human life and we have been trying for 
the last two and a half years to settle the evacuee property 
question between West Pakistan and India somehow. We 
have not gone very far, although I believe I am right in 
saying that for the first time we see some glimmering of hope. 
My hon. colleague, Mr Gopalaswami Ayyangar, who has 
worked hard on this problem, also feels that some way out 
will be found. I can say no more about it. People talk about 
evacuee property in East Bengal and West Bengal and say 
'Oh, about 5,000 crore of rupees would cover it.’ Let us at 
least preserve a semblance of reason. At the present moment, 
Pakistan owes us our national debt and is going to pay it bade 
in fifty years. It means nothing if you write Rs. 1,000 crore 
on a bit of paper. Where does the money come from? One 
can imagine some relatively reasonable figure being obtained 
or gradually realized but the talk of thousands of crores is 
absurd. People seem to think that they can sign cheques off 
for vast sums of money! After all, the wealth of a country is 
in its capacity, for production and not in the jewels that the 
Maharajas wear. We should be most concerned with whether 
a proposal causes an increase or decrease in the productive 
capacity of the nation. Even if we get a large number of 
empty houses, hundreds and thousands of them, it will not 
help us much. The only possible solution to the rehabilitation 
problem lies in our pursuing the line of productivity. 

Hon. Members will forgive me if I say that we cannot 
approach this problem with the mentality of a shopkeeper 
who just throws his money this way or that and sells his goods 
to make a profit. We must think of it from the point of view 
of production and think how we can make the displaced 
persons, our refugee brothers and sisters, productive members 
of the community. Let us, by all means, give them loans but 
ultimately they must become productive members of the 
community. That is the only thing which will make for real 
rehabilitation and also be good for the country. We must 
apply ourselves to the task of rehabilitation, not only because 
it is our duty to do so but because it is not in the interests of 
the nation to leave these people where they are, doing nothing 
and suffering. 



NO-WAR DECLARATION 


177 


I am sure that the Government of Pakistan will help us in 
promoting the atmosphere of security, not for love of you or 
me but because the facts and circumstances compel it to do so. 
I am quite convinced of that. That, of course, does not mean 
that it will cause us no trouble at all. It wants to solve the 
problems because it realizes, very sensibly, that any other 
course means ruin for Pakistan as much as it does for us. 


NO-WAR DECLARATION 

T he House will remember that 1 promised to l?v on the 
Table of the House the correspondence that had passed 
between me and the Prime Minister of Pakistan in regard to 
various matters, notably the No-War Declaration. Subse- 
quently, this correspondence grew and other matters also 
came within its scope. I am, therefore, laying on the Table a 
printed pamphlet containing the correspondence. I need not 
say much about it, because I am sure hon. Members would 
like to read it themselves; and then, if they wish to ask any 
questions, I shall be glad to enlighten them. I should add that, 
apart from the No-War Declaration, the correspondence 
contains the proposals we made about the setting up of a 
Tribunal to consider more especially two disputes, one in 
regard to the canal waters and the other about the evacuee 
property. Hon. Members have been asking me questions 
about them. This correspondence will enable them to under- 
stand what our proposals were and what the response of the 
Pakistan Government has been to these proposals. I regret 
to say that after nearly a year’s correspondence, we have 
achieved no solid result. 

Last night, I received another communication from 
Mr Liaquat Ali Khan in answer to my last letter which is 
published in this document. It has not been possible for me to 
include it in this pamphlet because it came too late I am. 

Speech in Parliament, New Delhi, November 28, 1950 



178 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES I949-195S 


however, placing on the Table a cyclostyled copy of that also. 
I hope that this document will be available to hon. Members 
in the course of the dav and that each one of them will have 
a copy. 

Naturally, I have not yet found time to reply to 
Mr Liaquat Ali Khan’s letter. We shall do so as soon as 
possible and a copy of our answer will also be furnished to 
Members. Meanwhile, I should like to make brief comments 
on some of the points arising out of the latest communication 
of the Prime Minister of Pakistan. 

Perhaps, it is not easy for hon. Members to follow the 
comments on a letter which they have not read. As a matter 
of fact, most of the points raised in Mr Liaquat Ali Khan’s 
communication have been repeatedly discussed in the course 
of the correspondence. Naturally, there is a great deal of 
repetition in our letters to each other. Most of these points 
have been dealt with in my previous correspondence and I 
shall answer them fully when I send a written reply to 
Mr Liaquat Ali Khan. For the present, I will just make a few 
brief comments. What I say now is not said in any spirit of 
controversy; the importance of good relations between India 
and Pakistan is too great for any of us to imperil them by 
words that excite passion. At the same time, we have to make 
our own position clear. 

I may add that I had repeatedly drawn Mr Liaquat Ali 
Khan’s attention to the kind of propaganda carried on by the 
press and statements made by individuals in Pakistan which 
were a direct incitement to war. I told him that this kind of 
thing, naturally, did not lead to good relations between the 
two countries. In his last letter, Mr Liaquat Ali Khan has 
referred to something about the Indian press. He has referred 
to the tone of the press throughout India and particularly in 
West Bengal towards the Delhi Agreement. I have previously 
had occasion to express my regret over the attitude of certain 
newspapers to the Agreement that Mr. Liaquat Ali Khan and 
I signed last April. It is not fair, however, to accuse the entire 
Indian press. On the whole, the leading newspapers of this 
country have dealt with the Agreement helpfully and in a 
spirit of responsibility and even the tone of some that were 



NO-WAR DECLARATION 


179 


once hostile improved considerably after a while. Now and 
then, there has been criticism of the Pakistan Government 
but that has been due to many causes, not a few of which are 
in the power of the Pakistan Government to remove. 

As for the alleged activities of certain individuals, they are 
of no consequence and one should not take serious notice of 
them. May I add that this is a reference to one or two indivi- 
duals who, I believe, proclaimed some time ago that they had 
set up a parallel government or something similar? I have no 
personal knowledge of the matter; but I have pointed out 
that it is of no consequence. In any case, what counts is the 
firm resolve of the Government of India to impleme nt the 
Agreement in full. 

Then, in his last letter, a reference has been made by 
Mr Liaquat Ali Khan to Junagadh. In Junagadh, it was the 
will of the people that prevailed, not any military effort by 
India. Mr Liaquat Ali Khan’s reference to large-scale 
movements of Indian forces along the borders of Pakistan 
during the Bengal trouble is an indication that our action has 
been misunderstood. We had no desire then to attack 
Pakistan just as we have none to attack her now. Our mea- 
sures were purely defensive and taken during a period of high 
tension; we should, indeed, have failed in our duty if we had 
not taken all precautions for the security of the country. 

I am glad to note that in reply to my declaration made 
some months ago at a Press Conference to the effect that 
India would not resort to war in Kashmir unless attacked, 
Mr Liaquat Ali Khan has stated that Pakistan has no inten- 
tion of attacking India either. As for his other arguments 
regarding Kashmir, I do not propose to answer them at 
length since our position has been made clear repeatedly. I 
would only say that while we sent our forces to Kashmir 
after the Government of the State had lawfully acceded to 
India, with the full approval of its most numerous and 
representative popular party, Pakistan sent its troops into 
what had become Indian territory, without any justification. 
As for the settlement of the Kashmir dispute, we have resiled 
from none of the assurances that we have given to the people 
of Jammu and Kashmir or to the United Nations. 



180 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


I shall not go into the canal waters dispute here and only 
say that nothing we have said is inaccurate. There is some 
argument about what has been said. The statement attri- 
buted by the Prime Minister of Pakistan to our represen- 
tatives was made by those who represented India on a 
sub-committee. Their report on the subject of canal waters 
was not accepted by the Punjab Partition Committee because 
of fundamental differences of opinion over the question of 
the distribution of the waters. I may also add that, in the 
early days, there were numerous committees and sub- 
committees dealing with Partition matters. There was the 
Punjab Partition Committee, consisting of representatives 
of the two Punjabs, which was quite distinct from the Central 
Partition Committee. The Punjab Partition Committee had 
appointed a sub-committee in the Punjab and in that sub- 
committee certain statements were made to which Mr 
Liaquat Ali Khan now draws our attention. 

Mr Liaquat Ali Khan says he is convinced that a war 
between India and Pakistan will be an unmitigated disaster 
for both countries. He has given the assurance that he will 
continue to work for peace. I fully share this conviction and 
have affirmed it on many occasions. India’s will to peace is 
certainly no less than that of Pakistan and I can give a 
categorical assurance that we shall continue to work for peace 
with our neighbouring country. 

The discussions between Mr Liaquat Ali Khan and me 
before the Delhi Agreement brought out fully the value of 
personal contacts. I have full faith in them. Mr Liaquat Ali 
Khan has kindly invited me to pay another visit to Karachi 
as soon as my duties permit it. My duty here in Parliament 
and other preoccupations, however, make it unlikely that I 
will visit Karachi in the next few weeks. Nevertheless, I 
welcome Mr Liaquat Ali Khan's invitation and shall avail 
myself of it as soon as I am able to. 



INDIA -IS OPPOSED TO WAR. 


J^uring these two days, many hon. Members have been good 
enough to express themselves in kind words about several 
aspects of our policy, especially our foreign policy. Much has 
been said to which I should like to reply; much has been said 
that has rather embarrassed me, especially so when it was 
meant to be kind but struck me as being just the opposite of it. 

On this occasion, I propose to limit myself to foreign 
policy, particularly in the context of our relations with 
Pakistan and the question of Kashmir. 

I am grateful for the support given to our foreign policy 
by this House. I am also grateful for what lay behind the kind 
words that have been said, because words as such do not 
carry much meaning. My colleagues and I have had to carry 
a very heavy burden and even though we may appear light- 
hearted sometimes, the burden is heavy. We naturally want 
as much support as possible, not merely kind words and 
phrases but intelligent support, understanding support, real 
support. I have, during the past few days, ventured to go out 
into the market place and to the fields to see large numbers of 
people in Delhi and the neighbourhood. I have tried to tell 
them about the questions that trouble us and about the great 
burdens we have to carry. I have asked them for their 
support. Wherever I have gone, I have found their support. 
It has heartened me because they are the people whom we 
presume to represent, whose ultimate will must count and 
whose morale counts more than any resolution. 

I claim no virtue for myself or for our Government or 
even for our country and I suspect those who do claim it. It 
is easy to get into the habit of talking big about ourselves; but 
we know that the noblest words sometimes gain currency in 
the mouths of base men and lose their meaning. We talk 
about patriotism and love of country and very often so-called 
patriots indulge in unworthy actions. So, it does not very much 
matter what fine language I might use or other hon. Members 
might use in this or any other connection. The ultimate test is 
in action. It is in the fire of experience and trial. 

Reply to debate on the President’s Address in Parliament, New Delhi. 
August 11, 1951 
13—11 DFD/6S 



182 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-195S 


We have been through grim tests and are the better for it. 
In spite of our weakness we had some principles to hold on 
to, some light to which we were drawn. We went towards it in 
our weak way and were strengthened thereby. We did not 
mind if instead of a garden we had sometimes to go through 
a wilderness. This is the way in which my generation in 
India has been nurtured. I say this, not in a personal context 
but because people in this country seem to have short 
memories and are apt to forget their past. They forget that we 
have not yet learnt to bow down to evil. We did not bow 
down to it when it was represented by a mighty force against 
us compared to which we were feeble and unarmed. How. 
then, can we bow down today when we are stronger? Are 
we really stronger in our minds, in our hearts and in the way 
we pull together? That is what gave us strength in the days 
of old. Does it give us strength today? I do not think our 
defence forces without the basic strength of a united people 
can go very far in times of trial. People have talked of being 
totally unable to eat wheat; they have said that they must 
have rice. It seemed to me that there is something basically 
wrong when petty questions are brought up at a time when 
big things are at stake. 

We may have to live on wheat or something worse than 
wheat, if we are serious about freedom. It is no good talking 
of rice or complaining that we are not used to wheat. We will 
have to get used to many things that we are not used to. 
Many of us in this House who lived in jails were certainly 
not used to them! We were not born to live in the wilderness 
or in prisons. But we did not complain. If everybody wants 
the things to which he is accustomed, the demand must be 
met at the cost of someone else. One part of India may have 
to suffer at the hands of another part. 

To come to the main issue, we have followed a foreign 
policy which this House has supported largely, if not always 
unanimously. I have often pointed out that our policy is not 
merely negative or neutral or passive; so far as I can see, it is 
a very active one. We do not wish to play a large part in the 
affairs of the world. We have troubles of our own. But, where 
our voice is sought, it will be given in accordance with our 



INDIA IS OPPOSED TO WAR 


IBS 


views and nobody else’s views, regardless of the pressure that 
is brought to bear upon us. Even if we have to suffer for that, 
I hope we shall be prepared to suffer rather than give up our 
independence of judgment and action. 

Although every intelligent person must realize that a war 
must be avoided at all costs, no country can do away with the 
apparatus of war. At least, no responsible government dare 
take that step. If we value our freedom, we cannot afford to 
depend only on the good in human nature because we live in 
a harsh and cruel world. We have to depend on our own 
strength and be prepared to defend our freedom. 

My friend, Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee, appe/ed for 
statesmanship in his speech and I entirely agree w : th him. 
But it is very difficult to say what statesmanship really is. 
I do wish to say, however, that to think largely in military 
terms is not statesmanship. When I see that military 
objectives have become the goal of statesmanship, frankly, I 
am nervous and afraid. Our voice does not go very far in the 
international assemblies but, anyhow, it gives us the satisfac- 
tion that we have said what we feel is right. 

This approach has governed our actions in foreign policy 
and we have tried to apply it even to our relations with 
Pakistan. Of course, very special considerations apply to our 
relations with Pakistan because of our past history and 
because of the conflicts we have had. Nevertheless, the fact 
remains that a major conflict between India and Pakistan 
would be a disaster of the first magnitude for both the 
countries. I say that and I shall repeat it because some hon. 
Members do not wholly appreciate that. If a problem is 
difficult it will not be solved through war. All war does is to 
kill a large number of human beings and destroy their pro- 
perty. It is a solution only in the sense that it can exterminate 
the entire population of a country. War, nevertheless, is 
possible for various reasons, one among them being foolish- 
ness. If a country is foolish enough to have a war you cannot 
run away from it; you have to face it with all your strength 
and put an end to it. Therefore, we envisage war, if at all, 
as a purely defensive measure. That is why we wanted to 
reduce our army. 



184 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 

Our approach is not, if I may say so, one of piety or 
pacifism. It is an approach based on hard facts and on a cold- 
blooded realization of facts. Since we want to avoid war, we 
offered Pakistan a no-war declaration which Pakistan did not 
wholly accept or agree to. And even a few days ago, this 
offer was repeated but they declined to accept it unless 
Kashmir was left out of it. 

When we consider the question of Indo-Pakistan rela- 
tions, let us look at it as a whole and not only at Kashmir, 
Bengal or Assam. Think for a while of past history, too, 
because what we see today has grown out of the past. Some 
twenty or thirty years ago, most of us stood, as we do today, 
for intercommunal unity. We wanted a peaceful solution of 
our internal problems and a joint effort to win our freedom. 
We hoped we could live together in that freedom. The 
supporters of Pakistan had a different gospel. They were not 
for unity but disunity, not for construction but for destruc- 
tion, not for peace but for discord, if not war. I do not think 
that the people of Pakistan are any better or any worse than 
the people of India. I know that we have failed and failed 
quite often; and the person who talks most of his own virtues 
is often the least virtuous. Fortunately, a certain ideal was 
before us in this country during the last twenty or thirty 
years which naturally affected our thinking and action. And 
in spite of everything, that ideal continues to be our guiding 
star. That is the major difference between India’s policies 
today and those of Pakistan. The latter are naturally derived 
from their previous record of discord, the deliberate propa- 
gation of hatred and disunity. I am quite convinced that a 
country that follows such a policy will injure itself. I fear the 
consequences of a narrow attitude such as Pakistan’s and, 
therefore, do not want India to follow a similar policy, come 
what may. 

An hon. Member talked of statesmanship and I must say 
I do not quite know how to define statesmanship. There are 
probably many definitions. If I may suggest one, statesman- 
ship is the ability to think not only of your immediate urge, 
not only of the action before you but also of the consequences 
of that action, to think not only of today but of what 



INDIA IS OPPOSED TO WAR 


185 


tomorrow and the day after might bring. In other words, 
perspective and vision are essential attributes of statesman- 
ship. That test should be applied to some of the things that 
have been said here since yesterday. Proposals have been 
made in regard to East Bengal or Pakistan or Kashmir. It is 
futile, just because you are angry with Pakistan, to say, ‘To 
hell With Pakistan. Let us go ahead ourselves.’ That you have 
lost your patience with something that is happening, is no 
justification for you to do the same thing. You have to think 
of the morrow’s consequences. I am, at the moment, not 
talking about moral Standards. I am merely applying the 
pragmatic test of action. 

The actions you indulge in must have consequences and 
these consequences flow from action as inevitably as any law 
of physics or chemistry. 

My friend, the hon. Dr Mookerjee, seems to think that we 
have forgotten the minorities of East Bengal. Allow me to 
assure him that there have been very few things which have 
made us more anxious. It is true that, for a variety of reasons, 
we have not talked about it too often. And, in any case, 
talking would not do much good. Obviously, the problem of 
East Bengal, that of Kashmir and many others are all parts 
of a single big problem, namely, that of Indo-Pakistan 
relations which have deep roots in the past. 

All you can do is to improve a situation like that in East 
Bengal but you can have no solution unless you solve the final 
problem first. 

A year and a half ago, on April 8, we had an agreement 
with the Prime Minister of Pakistan in regard to the situation 
in Bengal and Assam. A good deal of criticism followed then 
and was repeated later. I am often asked by newspaper 
correspondents and other people what happened to the Agree- 
ment. Such questions surprise me, because I believe that the 
Agreement is among the greatest successes that we have 
achieved during the last few years. Of course, it did not solve 
the problem of East Bengal; it was never expected to. It was 
only meant to ease the immediate difficulty and improve the 
situation, to bring relief to millions of people and to make 
way for further improvement. The results it achieved were 



JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-195* 


remarkable in the sense that a great deal of human misery 
was relieved and millions were given help in a variety of 
ways. 

Hon. Members ask me — though not always in so many 
words — why the Kashmir problem has not been solved. I can 
name a few dozen major problems of the world which drag 
on and on without any solution in spite of the United 
Nations and in spite of the best efforts of the people concerned. 

I doubt if there are more than a handful of people in this 
wide world who want war. Nevertheless, the fact remains that 
the whole world is becoming more and more military- 
minded. Why is that so? Everybody knows that a world war 
would be terrible, that it would destroy the proud structure 
of European civilization and cause enormous and widespread 
misery. Yet, people go on preparing for war as though they 
were driven by some elemental and uncontrollable urge. 

Two or three suggestions were repeated. One of the 
suggestions made to Pakistan on this occasion was that she 
should offer us territory in proportion to the number of 
migrants who come over. Another concerned an exchange of 
population and that, presumably, would also involve an 
exchange of territory. Let us be perfectly clear that such 
demands mean war. I hope nobody here is so foolish as to 
believe that such proposals can be effected merely by sending 
a registered communication. It means war and if it means 
war, let us not think of exchange of territory or population 
but of war. Let us not be confused. It is only too easy to 
make suggestions and later try to escape the consequences of 
what we say. 

I have tried to put it to the House that by war we will not 
get what we want; we shall only win for ourselves a genera- 
tion of terrible misery in addition to destroying everything 
that we have built up and being faced with the burden of 
terrible poverty. This will happen, irrespective of whether or 
not we win the war. Therefore, let us consider these problems 
a little more realistically and not jump to the conclusion that 
we can achieve our objective by some kind of strong action. 

I would like to add something to what I have already said 
on the subject of Bengal and Assam. It is impossible for me to 



INDIA IS OPPOSED TO WAR 


187 


conceive that the process of squeezing out large numbers of 
people can continue much longer. During the last year, an 
opposite tendency has been in evidence but, of late, the tide 
has turned again. There is no dobut in my mind that the 
general conditions in East Bengal are such that some kind of 
continuous pressure is exercised on the minority population. 
Presumably, they put up with the pressure and leave when 
it becomes too much. This is an abnormal situation which 
keeps alive the tension in Indo-Pakistan relations. It is some- 
thing that will not allow us to settle down but I cannot find 
a magic remedy for it. It is one of those difficult problems 
which can only be settled when there is a basic improvement 
in the total situation. Of course, we can deal with it provi- 
sionally in the best way possible but the solutions thus effected 
cannot possibly be permanent. I have ruled out war as a 
measure for the easing of Indo-Pakistan relations but I 
cannot rule it out independently or unilaterally. Since the 
other party brings it in and talks and shouts so much about it, 
I have to be perfectly ready for it. 

Now, I shall say a few words about Kashmir. May I say 
that the House had the great advantage of hearing today the 
authentic voice of Kashmir in this House? I am exceedingly 
glad that we had the exposition of Kashmir’s position from 
one who is, perhaps, more entitled than almost any other 
person in Kashmir to give it, because the hon. Member 
who spoke is the General Secretary of the Kashmir National 
Conference. 

In considering the question of Kashmir, we should also 
not confine ourselves to the present. We should go back at 
least four years when the trouble started; but to understand 
it, we should really go back eighteen or nineteen years when 
the movement against autocratic rule in Kashmir began. It 
gradually built itself up and challenged the Maharaja’s rule. 
In the course of these years of struggle there were, naturally, 
many ups and downs; people were imprisoned and shot down; 
the things we faced during our fight for independence 
happened in Kashmir also. It is interesting to recall the part 
the leaders of Pakistan were playing in the days when the 
people of Kashmir were struggling for their freedom — not 



188 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 

only the people of Kashmir but the people in all the States 
in India. The House will remember that the Muslim League 
supported autocratic rule in every State; perhaps, they did 
not interfere openly but they certainly helped it privately. So 
also in Kashmir. I know that the Maharaja was a Hindu but 
the odd thing is that the Muslim League was in some ways in 
alliance with or being helped by the Hindu Maharaja’s 
Government in Kashmir against the national movement. Not 
that there was much love lost between them but, because this 
great national movement for freedom had to be opposed, 
every odd group that could be rallied for the purpose was 
called upon to do so. 

When all is said and done, there were no forces to 
challenge the national movement in Kashmir; there were 
small groups and scattered parties no doubt but nothing very 
effective. In the course of those years and till just before the 
invasion of Kashmir took place, efforts were made time and 
again by the leaders of the Muslim League to woo Sheikh 
Mohammad Abdullah in order to win him over to their side. 
The efforts did not succeed because the two viewpoints 
involved were diametrically opposed. You heard the hon. 
Member from Kashmir today and the attitude he represents 
is as different from communalism as anything could be. My 
friend, Mr Alva, talked a great deal about a secular State. I 
wish we were much more of a secular State than we are at 
present. I wish also that we would approach the ideal we have 
adopted in our Constitution. Too many people are attack- 
ing that ideal; too many people are trying to undermine it. 
If they do not actually attack it they act in a way which will 
undermine it. In other words, there are far too many people 
in this country who are communal and narrow. In Kashmir, 
it was a straight fight between communalism and the ideal 
that we hold and it is still the same fight. It is quite absurd to 
talk of India and Pakistan fighting for possession of Kashmir 
as if it was some booty to be seized by the stronger party. In 
Kashmir, people have struggled for a basic ideal. The 
Kashmiri people have also fought for that ideal more than our 
Armies did. Do you remember that before our Armies went 
there, there were three days when there was no proper 



INDIA IS OPPOSED TO WAR 


189 


government or police in the Valley of Kashmir? I regret to 
say that those who were in authority then, ran away, taking 
with them their bag and baggage, while the enemy was 
raiding and pillaging, so to speak, almost at the Valley’s 
doorstep. 

What happened in the Valley of Kashmir then? Surely, 
if any sympathy for the invader had existed among the people, 
the whole Valley would have been offered on a silver platter 
to the invader. In the absence of a strong feeling of national 
unity and national consciousness, the whole place would have 
gone to pieces. Since the governmental apparatus had gone, 
there would have been terrible panic and confusion. 1 nstead, 
the people of the Valley kept the peace for three whole days; 
the volunteers and the leaders of the National Conference, 
without arms, with nothing but their patriotic appeals, kept 
watch day and night and, to the last day. there was not a 
single shop that closed in Srinagar even though the enemy 
was only six miles away. 

When people talk of plebiscite and accuse India of 
imposing itself on Kashmir, they should keep what I have 
said in mind. I have not the shadow of a doubt that, as 
Maulana Masoudi said, a plebiscite in Kashmir can only result 
in the victory of the present Government there. 

You know the rest of the story about the invasion and 
what followed it. It is remarkable that, after all that has 
happened, some of our friends in foreign countries write and 
speak and behave in the manner they do. I can under- 
stand that their knowledge of events is limited; nevertheless, 
the assurance with which they try to lay down the law, 
sometimes the effrontery with which they advise us, amazes 
me. 

When I think of Pakistan’s case and the way they present 
it repeatedly, I am reminded of the story of a young man who 
murdered his father and mother. When he was tried for it, he 
pleaded for mercy on the ground that he was an orphan. It is 
really extraordinary how reality has been distorted beyond 
recognition by Pakistan. I have often wondered whether we 
have not made a mistake somewhere in regard to Kashmir. 
We may have committed many small errors but I just cannot 



190 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-195S 

accept that any major step we have taken can be called 
wrong. 

The House will remember that a year and a half ago 
there was a cease-fire and just about that time the UN 
Commission passed a resolution which we accepted. It related 
to the disbandment and disarmament of the so-called Azad 
Kashmir Forces and to certain northern areas. We, naturally, 
insisted that we would stick to the resolution since we had 
accepted it. 

I shall not take the House into the details of the inter- 
mediate stages. Ultimately, the Commission left it at that 
since it could not reconcile our interpretation of these resolu- 
tions with that of Pakistan. Later, there were other develop- 
ments; Sir Owen Dixon and others came into the picture. In 
the case of the last resolution passed by the Security Council, 
a strange sea-change seemed to have been evident. This 
resolution largely ignored what had been agreed to previously 
between us and the Commission. Naturally, we objected and 
pointed out that we could only be asked to do what we had 
agreed to do. The two or three major points we had raised 
and to which the Commission had agreed in writing are there 
for anybody to see. The fact is that they were ignored in the 
last resolution of the Security Council but the latter assured 
us that there would be arbitration about the existing dis- 
crepancies. We ventured to point out to the Security Council 
our unwillingness to give up the previous agreement. Since 
the fate of millions of people was involved, we were opposed 
to submitting the dispute to an arbitrator. That is why we 
voted against and rejected the resolution in the Security 
Council. I greatly regret that, when this resolution came up 
for discussion in the Security Council, two great countries, 
who are friends of ours, took an exceedingly unfriendly line. 
Their approach also seemed to me extremely illogical and 
based on ignorance and on considerations which were 
extraneous to the problem. Pakistan goes on saying that we 
have spurned the United Nations and the Security Council. 
I deny that. All that we have told the Security Council is that 
we stand by our previous agreements and it is they who have 
forgotten theirs. We are not prepared to accept anything 



INDIA IS OPPOSED TO WAR 


191 


which either ignores the previous assurances given to us or 
challenges our self-respect or independence or honour. 
Pakistan is taking advantage of the fact that they agreed to 
the last resolution in the Security Council and we did not. 
Whatever was put forward later, happened to be to their 
advantage and they quickly agreed to it. 

•A great deal of fuss was made in the Security Council 
and elsewhere because the Constituent Assembly was called to 
meet in Kashmir. It was not anybody’s business to interfere 
with the internal arrangements we had made in Kashmir. 
We went to the Security Council with a simple complaint 
concerning Pakistan’s aggression. It is odd that we l ive not 
received any decision from the Security Council so far, 
although Sir Owen Dixon did say three years after it had 
happened that Pakistan’s action was a breach of inter- 
national law. The conflict in Kashmir is between progress on 
the one hand and reaction and bigotry on the other. I invite 
hon. Members to go to Kashmir and see for themselves the 
progress that has been made in spite of many difficulties. 
There has been progress in economy, in all kinds of public 
works, such as supplies and transport and, particularly, in the 
agrarian system. The entire face of Kashmir has changed. 
On the other side, in ‘Azad’ Kashmir, the conditions are, as 
Maulana Saeed said, strikingly different. The fact of the 
matter is that, from the psychological and the basic point of 
view, the battle of Kashmir has been won and the terrible 
shouting that is going on in Pakistan is the result of utter 
frustration and the knowledge that they have lost the battle. 
They have not lost it because of our Army or any army for 
that matter but because the contrast between the ideal for 
which the National Conference and Sheikh Abdullah fought 
twenty years ago and the things for which Pakistan stands 
today is so tremendous. We believe in the ideal of communal 
unity and not in the two-nation theory. The Kashmiri is 
convinced that the former is the right approach and that is 
why Kashmir has slipped out of Pakistan’s grasp, thereby 
completely upsetting its rulers. In the 'Azad’ Kashmir area, 
there are continuous squabbles and quarrels and it has the 
status of an occupied territory. 



192 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 

Some other matters between Pakistan and India still 
remain to be settled. There is the matter of evacuee property 
and canal waters. In regard to both we offered and still offer 
them judicial determination by properly constituted courts of 
Pakistan and India with prevision made for the final decision. 

In foreign countries, so much has been said in connec- 
tion with Kashmir and its rivers that one would think that 
the rivers of Kashmir determine the destiny of Pakistan! 
It has been suggested that unless Pakistan controls Kashmir, 
the rivers will be diverted from their natural course and the 
whole of Punjab will go dry! I would beg the House not to 
mix up the so-called canal water question with the Kashmir 
question, because the canal water question does not deal with 
the rivers in Kashmir: it deals with the rivers in East and 
West Punjab, about the rights of which we are, as I said, 
prepared to have proper judicial determination. The rivers 
which concerned Kashmir, as hon. Members should know, 
are the Indus, the Jhelum and the Chenab. All that hon. 
Members need do is to look at the map of Kashmir. They will 
then realize that it is fantastic to mix up the Kashmir question 
with the canal water issue. In England and America much 
is made of this confusion. 

I hope this crisis in our relations with Pakistan will pass. I 
am convinced that the only thing that will ultimately settle 
our various problems is fiiendliness. I am also convinced that 
friendship is bound to come, in spite of bitterness in the inter- 
vening period. If so, why should we not try to arrive at a 
friendly settlement soon rather than pass through all kinds of 
disasters and troubles? Regardless of the provocation 
Pakistan has given us and in spite of the daily talk of jehad 
and so on, we shall always be ready to solve every problem 
peacefully and to develop friendly relations with Pakistan. 
At the same time, we have to take every precaution against 
the war with which we are being continually threatened. I 
cannot detail to the House all the precautions we have taken 
in the military sense. Suffice it to say that for more than a 
month we have been giving the most careful thought to the 
matter. 

A good deal has been said about civil defence. Prof. 



INDIA IS OPPOSED TO WAR 


I9S 


Shah's idea of civil defence appears to me to mean some kind 
of conscription. It may be suggested on other grounds but it 
is not exactly civil defence. I think it would be a very good 
thing in this country — quite apart from the Pakistan issue — 
if there were conscription by which every man, rich or poor, 
was enlisted to do ordinary labour. So long as we do not 
compel people like ourselves to take a spade and dig, I do not 
think much good will be done to either our souls or the 
country. We think we are very wise and clever because we sit 
in offices with fountain pens in our hands. The idea that a 
clerical job is a better one than others will ultimately degrade 
the whole nation. 

What exactly does civil defence mean? When pec pie talk 
to me about it, I want them to talk intelligently and not just 
throw the word vaguely at me. Do you call what Pakistan 
is doing civil defence or do you mean something else? 
Pakistan is digging trenches, having black-outs and talking 
about fire brigades. I have definitely and, if I may say so, 
rather aggressively opposed the idea of civil defence and will 
continue to do so. I understand what I say and will not have 
our people wasting their time digging trenches and getting 
excited. By now, everybody has realized that morale counts 
a great deal. I am a better builder up of morale than most 
people know and I am determined to build up the morale 
of this country. Morale is not built by the stage tricks 
Pakistan seems to be practising. When I see attempts to 
duplicate in India the trickery staged there it does not affect 
me powerfully at all. 

I was talking about Kashmir and the wonderful way in 
which the people of Kashmir have risen to the occasion. I 
deeply regret that a small section of the community, especially 
in Jammu, has played a game which can only be of advan- 
tage to Pakistan. It amazes me how the spirit of communal 
fanaticism makes people blind even to their own interests 
The Constituent Assembly is going to be elected next month 
in Kashmir. The Hindus of Jammu are trying to put diffi- 
culties in the way of the Constituent Assembly as well as in 
the way of the National Conference and doing so in the most 
vulgar language. This is immature and childish. If I am 



194 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


anxious about anything today, it is the communal spirit in 
India. Before I can deal with the communal spirit of Pakistan, 
I want to deal with the communal spirit in India, the 
communal spirit of the Hindus and Sikhs more than that of 
the Muslims. I want this House to realize that this spirit 
will stand in the way of our progress and weaken us. In the 
event of a war, we cannot fight the enemy if mischief is done 
behind our backs. No army can fight if its base is not strong. 
Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that this wild and 
vague communal talk be put an end to at once. I am stressing 
this because people tend to express their great patriotism by 
cursing Pakistan and the Muslims. I want this House and this 
country to feel friendly to the people of Pakistan, because 
those poor people are not much to blame anyhow. What 
would you and I do in their place? If we had to read in the 
newspapers and hear on the radio stories full of falsehoods 
day in and day out, if we were enveloped in the atmosphere 
of fright and fury all the time, we might not behave \ery 
differently from them. It is not the fault of the people; but I do 
blame those who are responsible for all this. It is a heavy 
responsibility. It is not for me to say much about it. Anyhow, 
let us not create a feeling of ill-will for the common people 
there or for the country as a whole, because the feelings of 
hatred and violence weaken us. 

In the last fortnight or so, many important Muslim 
organizations in the country have criticized Pakistan’s action 
in the matter of Kashmir and some other matters and have 
offered their full support to our Government and to us. I do 
not always attach value to such things because people may 
do this to gain favour but, in this instance, what has been said 
to us represents the true feelings of the people concerned. 
That is greater proof of our strength than several armies. It 
means that our country is united in the face of danger. It 
means that we strike at the very root of the two-nation theoty 
that Pakistan stands for. We should work for cohesion and 
make it dear to our minorities that it is our proud privilege 
to give the fullest protection and opportunity to them. I 
dislike the word ‘protection’ and the word ‘minority’, too. 
For the moment I use them so that I may be clearly under- 



INDIA IS OPPOSED TO WAR 


195 


stood but I want these words to cease to be. 

Therefore, it is unwise to think in terms of civil defence. 
We can dig trenches within twenty-four hours but, take it 
from me, that we will not require them. Trenches are dug for 
people who expect an invasion. Whatever happens, India is 
not going to be invaded. Even if there is war, do you imagine 
that we will wait idly to be invaded? Certainly not. That 
is why we are not going to dig trenches and have black-outs. 
In any case, I should like our people to put an end to the 
black-outs inside them and not to lose themselves in passion, 
fury, anger and hatred. I want them to take stock of the 
situation coolly — not complacently, mind you — and to be 
ready for every eventuality and to carry on their work 
normally. 



INDIA AND THE WORLD 


A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY 

t have come to this country to learn something of your great 

achievements. I have come also to convey the greetings of 
my people and in the hope that my visit may help to create a 
greater understanding between our respective peoples and 
those strong and sometimes invisible links, stronger even 
than physical links, that bind countries together. The 
President referred the day before yesterday, in language of 
significance, to my visit as a voyage of discovery of America. 
The United States of America is not an unknown country 
even in far-off India and many of us have grown up in 
admiration of the ideals and objectives which have made this 
country great. Yet, though we may know the history and 
something of the culture of our respective countries, what is 
required is a true understanding and appreciation of each 
other even where we differ. Out of that understanding grows 
fruitful co-operation in the pursuit of common ideals. What 
the world today lacks most is, perhaps, understanding and 
appreciation of one another among nations and people. I 
have come here, therefore, on a voyage of discovery of the 
mind and heart of America and to place before you our own 
mind and heart. Thus, we may promote that understanding 
and co-operation which, I feel sure, both our countries 
earnestly desire. Already I have received a welcome here, 
the generous warmth of which has created a deep impression 
on my mind and, indeed, somewhat overwhelmed me. 

During the last two days that I have been in Washington 
I have paid visits to the memorials of the great builders of 
this nation. I have done so not for the sake of mere formality 
but because they have long been enshrined in my heart and 
their example has inspired me as it has inspired innumerable 

Speech in the House of Representatives and the Senate, Washington D.C., 
October 13, 1949 



A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY 


197 


countrymen of mine. These memorials are the real temples 
to which each generation must pay tribute and, in doing so, 
must catch something of the fire that burned in the hearts of 
those who were the torchbearers of freedom, not onlv for this 
country but for the world; for those who are truly great have 
a message that cannot be confined within a particular country 
but is for all the world. 

In India, there came a man in our own generation who 
inspired us to great endeavour, ever reminding us that 
thought and action should never be divorced from moral 
principle, that the true path of man is the path of truth and 
peace. Under his guidance, we laboured for the free' om of 
our country, with ill will to none and achieved that f'eedom. 
We called him reverently and affectionately the Father of 
our Nation. Yet he was too great for the circumscribed 
borders of any one country and the message lie gave may well 
help us in considering the wider problems of the world. 

The United States of America has struggled to freedom 
and unparalleled prosperity during the past century and a 
half and today it is a great and powerful nation. It has an 
amazing record of growth in material well-being and scientific 
and technological advance. It could not have accomplished 
this unless America had been anchored in the great principles 
laid down in the early days of her history, for material pro- 
gress cannot go far or last long unless it has its foundations in 
moral principles and high ideals. 

Those principles and ideals are enshrined in your 
Declaration of Independence, which lays down as a self- 
evident truth that all men are created equal, that they are 
endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, 
t-haf among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happi- 
ness. It may interest you to know that, in drafting the 
Constitution of the Republic of India, we have been greatly 
influenced by your own Constitution. The preamble of our 
Constitution states: 

We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved to 
constitute India into a Sovereign Democratic Republic 
and to secure to all its citizens : 

Justice, social, economic and political; 

14— llDPD/eS 



198 JAWAHARI.AL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 

Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and 
worship; 

Equality of status and of opportunity; and to pro- 
mote among them all Fraternity assuring the dignity 
of the individual and the unity of the Nation; 

In our Constituent Assembly do hereby adopt, enact 

and give to ourselves this Constitution. 

You will recognize in these words that I have quoted an 
echo of the great voices of the founders of your Republic. 
You will see that though India may speak to you in a voice 
that you may not immediately recognize or that may perhaps 
appear somewhat alien to you, yet that voice somewhat 
strongly resembles what you have often heard before. 

Yet, it is true that India’s voice is somewhat different; it 
is not the voice of the old world of Europe but of the older 
world of Asia. It is the voice of an ancient civilization, distinc- 
tive, vital, which, at the same time, has renewed itself and 
learned much from you and the other countries of the West. 
It is, therefore, both old and new. It has its roots deep in the 
past but it also has the dynamic urge of today. 

But however the voices of India and the United States 
may appear to differ, there is much in common between them. 
Like you, we have achieved our freedom through a revolu- 
tion, though our methods were different from yours. Like you 
we shall be a republic based on the federal principle, which 
is an outstanding contribution of the founders of this great 
Republic. In a vast country like India, as in this great 
Republic of the United States, it becomes necessary to have 
a delicate balance between central control and State auto- 
nomy. We have placed in the forefront of our Constitution 
those fundamental human rights to which all men who love 
liberty, equality and progress aspire — the freedom of the 
individual, the equality of men and the rule of law. We enter, 
therefore, the community of free nations with the roots of 
democracy deeply embedded in our institutions as well as in 
the thoughts of our people. 

We have achieved political freedom but our revolution is 
not yet complete and is still in progress, for political freedom 
without the assurance of the right to live and to pursue happi- 



A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY 


199 


ness, which economic progress alone can bring, can never 
satisfy a people. Therefore, our immediate task is to raise the 
living standards of our people, to remove all that comes 
in the way of the economic growth of the nation. We have 
tackled the major problem of India, as it is today the major 
problem of Asia, the agrarian problem. Much that was 
feudal in our system of land tenure is being changed so that 
the fruits of cultivation should go to the tiller of the soil and 
that he may be secure in the possession of the land he culti- 
vates. In a country of which agriculture is still the principal 
industry, this reform is essential not only for the well-being 
and contentment of the individual but also for the ; ability 
of society. One of the main causes of social instability in 
many parts of the world, more especially in Asia, is agrarian 
discontent due to the continuance of systems of land 
tenure which are completely out of place in the modern 
world. Another — and one which is also true of the greater 
part of Asia and Africa — is the low standard of living of the 
masses. 

India is industrially more developed than many less 
fortunate countries and is reckoned as the seventh or eighth 
among the world’s industrial nations. But this arithmetical 
distinction cannot conceal the poverty of the great majority 
of our people. To remove this proverty by greater produc- 
tion, more equitable distribution, better education and 
better health, is the paramount need and the most pressing 
task before us and we are determined to accomplish this 
task. We realize that self-help is the first condition of success 
for a nation, no less than for an individual. We are conscious 
that ours must be the primary effort and we shall seek succour 
from none to escape from any part of our own responsibility. 
But though our economic potential is great, its conversion 
into finished wealth will need much mechanical and techno- 
logical aid. We shall, therefore, gladly welcome such aid 
and co-operation on terms that are of mutual benefit. We 
believe that this may well help in the solution of the larger 
problems that confront the world. But we do not seek any 
material advantage in exchange for any part of our hard- 
won freedom. 



200 


JAWAHAKLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


The objectives of our foreign policy are the preservation 
of world peace and enlargement of human freedom. Two 
tragic wars have demonstrated the futility of warfare. Victory 
without the will to peace achieves no lasting result and victor 
and vanquished alike suffer from deep and grievous wounds 
and a common fear of the future. May I venture to say that 
this is not an incorrect description of the world of today? 
It is not flattering either to man’s reason or to our common 
humanity. Must this unhappy state persist and the power 
of science and wealth continue to be harnessed to the 
service of destruction? Every nation, great or small, has to 
answer this question and the greater a nation, the greater 
is its responsibility to find and to work for the right 
answer. 

India may be new to world politics and her military 
strength insignificant in comparison with that of the giants of 
our epoch. But India is old in thought and experience and 
has travelled through trackless centuries in the adventure of 
life. Throughout her long history she has stood for peace and 
every prayer that an Indian raises, ends with an invocation 
to peace. It was out of this ancient and yet young India that 
Mahatma Gandhi arose and he taught us a technique of 
action that was peaceful; yet it was effective and yielded 
results that led us not only to freedom but to friendship 
with those with whom we were, till yesterday, in conflict. 
How far can that principle be applied to wider spheres of 
action? I do not know, for circumstances differ and the 
means to prevent evil have to be shaped and set to the nature 
of the evil. Yet I have no doubt that the basic approach 
which lay behind that technique of action was the right 
approach in human affairs and the only approach that ulti- 
mately solves a problem satisfactorily. We have to achieve 
freedom and to defend it. We have to meet aggression and to 
resist it and the force employed must be adequate to the 
purpose. But even when preparing to resist aggression, the 
ultimate objective, the objective of peace and reconciliation, 
must never be lost sight of and heart and mind must be 
attuned to this supreme aim and not swayed or clouded by 
hatred or fear. 



FRIENDLY CO-OPERATION 


201 


This is the basis and the goal of our foreign policy. We 
are neither blind to reality nor do we propose to acquiesce in 
any challenge to man’s freedom from whatever quarter it 
may come. Where freedom is menaced or justice threatened 
or where aggression takes place, we cannot be and shall not 
be neutral. What we plead for and endeavour to practise in 
our 'own imperfect way is a binding faith in peace and an 
unfailing endeavour of thought and action to ensure it. The 
great democracy of the United States of America will, I feel 
sure, understand and appreciate our approach to life's 
problems because it could not have any other aim or a 
different ideal. Friendship and co-operation betwc m our 
two countries are, therefore, natural. I stand here to offer 
both in the pursuit of justice, liberty and peace. 


FRIENDLY CO-OPERATION 

I have been in the United States for exactly eight days 
today. It is not a very long time. Yet I was surprised when 
I suddenly realized that it was only eight days ago that I had 
come, because during these eight days so much of significance 
has happened in my life. Experience and emotion have so 
piled up, one on top of the other, that I have the feeling that 
I have been here for a long time. Sometimes, when there are 
no new experiences, time seems to stop. I have had this 
experience of time stopping for months and years in my life 
— a curious experience. And sometimes time seems to race 
on; rather, one feels as if it were racing on, although very 
little of it may have passed. So, during these eight days, much 
has happened to me which has not only powerfully affected 
me in the present but has left upon me its deep imprint, 
which I shall carry with me and remember for a very long 
time. 


Address to the East and West Association, the Foreign Policy Association, 
the India League of America and the Institute of Pacific Relations, New York, 
October 19, 1949 



202 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-195S 


During these days, I have repeatedly had occasion to 
speak in public and my programme has often been a very 
full one. 1 knew that I was to come to this great banquet 
tonight. And I knew also that I had to speak here but I 
must apologize to you because I was expected, I am told, to 
prepare a written address, which I have not done. I have 
not done it, partly because I dislike very much this process 
of writing down speeches in advance, partly because I was not 
used to doing it in India and partly because, if I may 
confess it with all humility, I just forgot about it. 

But in the main, may I say that the real reason at the 
back of my mind, the sub-conscious reason, was a growing 
feeling of confidence, of being among my friends here in this 
country. I began to feel more and more at home and so I 
thought I could perhaps take the liberty of having a friendly 
talk with you rather than deliver a formal address. 

If I may indulge in a bit of personal history, I might 
inform you that I began what is called public speaking at a 
fairly late stage in my life. I was at college in Cambridge. I 
joined a well-known debating society. But I never had the 
courage to speak there, in spite of the fact that they actually 
had a system of fining the members who did not speak eveiy 
term. I paid the fine willingly. 

It was many years later, through the force of circum- 
stances rather than anything else, that I started addressing 
public audiences. I began with the peasantiy of my province. 
They didn’t think and I didn’t think -that 1 was delivering 
a public speech at all. But I used to meet them and talk 
to them and those talks gradually attracted more and more 
people. Yet they remained just personal talks. I didn’t 
feel shy with them because they were very simple folk. 
And so, very slowly I got over this inhibition, this difficulty 
of speaking in public. But I retained that manner of 
speaking, that is to say, of speaking to friends as if we 
were having a quiet talk together, even when the audiences 
grew and became colossal in number. So, if I speak to 
you in a somewhat rambling fashion, you will forgive me. 
I need hardly say how overwhelmed I am by the magni- 
ficence of this occasion and by the very distinguished 



FRIENDLY CO OPERATION 


203 


gathering that is present here. In spite of all that has been 
said about me by previous speakers, I am not a very aggres- 
sive person in public gatherings and I feel at times a little 
afraid of them. I am very grateful to the four host 
organizations for organizing this function. And may I say in 
this connection that I am grateful not only for this occasion 
but even more so to all the Americans who, in the course of 
the past many years, sent us their goodwill: and not only 
sent their goodwill but gave us their active support in the 
struggle for our freedom. I need not say anything to my own 
fellow countrymen here, because it was expected of them to 
give of their best. But it was very heartening to us n those 
days of struggle and conflict and ups and downs to hear the 
voices of goodwill and friendship and sympauiy from 
America. I remember that on the last occasion, the beginning 
of my last term of imprisonment, a number of very distin- 
guished citizens in America issued a manifesto — I think it 
was addressed to the President of the United States — 
appealing to him to take some action in regard to India. 
May I also say that all of us in India know very well, although 
it might not be so known in public, what great interest 
President Roosevelt had in our country’s freedom and how 
he exercised his great influence to that end. 

I have come to America for many reasons, personal and 
public. I have come after a long time of waiting because I 
have always wanted to come here ever since I was a student 
in England. But events took a different course soon after I 
went back to India and my travels and journeys were very’ 
limited. In the last two or three years, other limiting factors 
have come in and I could not come here earlier. 

Originally, perhaps, it was curiosity that impelled me to 
come here. But in later years, more and more the thought 
came to me that it was necessary, it was desirable and 
perhaps, inevitable that India and the United States should 
know each other more and co-operate with each other more. 
In a sense that co-operation in the past could hardly be 
called co-operation, because a subject country does not 
co-operate with a great and powerful nation. But since we 
have become independent, that idea took more definite 



204 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


shape. Though even now we may be a big country and we 
may have great potential resources, as we do have, never- 
theless, we are new to these fields of international activity and 
in the terms that the world measures nations today, we are 
weak. We have no atom bomb at our disposal. We have 
no great forces at our command, military or other. Econo- 
mically we are weak. And these are the standards — the 
yard measures — of a nation’s importance today. We are 
strong in some ways — at least potentially so. Any person 
who can look ahead a little can say with a measure of con- 
fidence that India is bound to make good even in those 
material ways which count for so much in the world. All 
the factors are present there and the whole course of present- 
day history points to that. Anyhow, the time has come when 
we can look more towards the United States with some 
feeling of confidence which is necessary before we can really 
develop co-operative relations. 

These relations cannot exist when one country is very 
weak and the other very strong. We are weak in some ways 
but there is one lesson we learned many years ago from our 
great leader, Mahatma Gandhi, in the days when we were 
still weaker. Our people, though they were unarmed, with 
no wealth or other outward symbol of strength at their 
command, faced a powerful and wealthy empire which had 
been in India for a large number of years. 

It was a strange contest. I look back to that period just 
thirty years ago when Mahatma Gandhi, in a sense, burst 
upon the Indian scene. He was, of course, known before and 
loved and admired for his work in South Africa but he had 
not functioned on an all-India plane. He suddenly started 
functioning. And there was some magic about the message 
he gave. It was very simple. His analysis of the situation in 
India was essentially that we were suffering terribly from 
fear, especially the masses in India and even others. So he 
just went about telling us, 'Don’t be afraid. Why are you 
afraid? What can happen to you?’ Of course, when he 
talked in these terms he was thinking of the political fear 
that we had. If we did something that the British Government 
did not like, well, we’d be punished. We’d be sent to prison. 



FRIENDLY CO OPERATION 


205 


We might be shot. And so a general sense of fear pervaded 
the place. It would take hold of the poorest peasant, the 
lowliest of all our people, whose produce or nearly all of it 
went to his landlord and who hardly had enough food to eat. 
This poor man was kicked and cuffed by everybody — by his 
landlord, by his landlord’s agent, by the police, by the 
moneylender. Everybody with whom he came into contact 
just pushed him about and he simply accepted it as something 
that fate had ordained for him. Whether there was something 
in the atmosphere or some magic in Gandhi’s voice, I do 
not know. Anyhow, this very simple thing, ‘Don’t be afraid,’ 
when he put it that way caught on and we realized with a 
tremendous lifting of hearts, that there was nothing to fear. 
Even the poor peasant straightened his back a little and began 
to look people in the face and there was a ray of hope in his 
sunken eyes. In effect, a magical change had come over 
India. 

There were many ups and downs. THU leaching of his 
— ‘Do not be afraid’ — kepi us going and we found really 
that there was nothing to fear. Fear was something we had 
created. We went to prison in tens and hundreds of 
thousands. It was uncomfortable and many people endured 
a great deal of pain and suffering. But we found that it all 
depended on the way one looked at it. Obviously, if we had 
gone to prison for some high misdemeanour with disgrace 
attached to it, it would have been terribly painful. But 
because we felt we were serving a great cause, it became 
not a thing to be afraid of but something to be coveted. I put 
this to you, because, in the world today, we are again — 
compared with the great nations — weak. If there is an armed 
conflict, we are weak. As I said, we have no atom bomb. But 
if I may say so, we rejoice in not having the atom bomb. 

So while innumerable difficulties have surrounded us and 
sometimes tried to overwhelm us, we have never lost heart. 
The one thing that has really been painful and has hurt us 
has been our own inner weakness. We have lost all fear of 
external aggression. Not that we are impractical or idealistic 
though it is good to be idealistic and we are that to some 
extent. After the last thirty years’ experience, however, we 



206 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


shall not be afraid of external aggression, unless, of course, 
we ourselves go to pieces. That would be our fault. What 
has pained us is our own inner weakness, because that has 
sometimes made us doubt ourselves. 

I mention this, because elsewhere I have talked about 
this fear complex that governs the world today. It is a curious 
thing. It is like the fear of a man who possesses a great deal 
of property and is continually afraid of losing it or of some- 
body stealing it; he lives in a state of constant apprehension. 
Possibly, he might lead a more comfortable and happier life 
if he didn’t have it and didn’t have this continual apprehen- 
sion. However that may be, there is this fear complex all 
over. I do not say there is no justification for it. There is 
justification for it in this world. We have seen terrible things 
happen and terrible things may happen again. Any person 
in a place of responsibility cannot become totally irrespon- 
sible about the future. He has to guard against it. He must 
take steps to prevent the terrible things from happening. 
That is true. Nevertheless, this approach of fear is, from 
every point of view, the worst of all approaches. It is bad for 
one’s self; it is bad for others. Some of you may be acquainted 
with wild animals. I have had some little acquaintance — not 
very much — and have found and am convinced that no 
animal attacks man, except very rarely, unless the animal is 
afraid. Sometimes, the fear in the man transfers itself 
psychologically to the animal. The man becomes afraid of 
the animal and then the animal becomes afraid of him and, 
between them, they make a mess of it. I know numerous 
cases of individuals who go into the jungles without a gun 
or arms and are never attacked by any animal, because 
they are not afraid of any animal and the wild animals come 
and they look them in the face and the animals pass by. Well, 
it is perhaps not fair to compare wild animals with men. 
Nevertheless, the analogy, I think, holds. One party gets 
afraid. One nation gets afraid, then the other gets afraid and 
so the fear rises to a crescendo and leads to deplorable 
consequences. I do not know if it is possible to divert this 
emotion to other channels. While one must take all steps to 
prevent an evil happening, one must also shed fear and act 


tufa 



FRIENDLY CO-OPERATION 


207 


with a great deal of confidence, because that confidence 
itself brings confidence to the others who are afraid. And 
so we can gradually change the atmosphere in which we 
live. 

India has been, for the last two years or more, an 
independent country. In another three months or so, we will 
•formally inaugurate our Republic. That will be no addition 
to our freedom, except in the sense that it will be a confir- 
mation of it and certain forms which exist now will go. Our 
purpose and our desire in the present is to be left in peace 
to work out our problems, not in isolation certainly, but in 
co-operation with others. We have got enormous p’oblems. 
Every country has problems, of course. But the fact of 
150 years of foreign rule, which resulted possibly in some 
good here and there, certainly resulted in stunting and 
arresting the growth of the people and of the country in 
many ways. Because it arrested the growth of the country, 
it arrested the solution of many problems that normally 
would have solved themselves — either by conflict or in 
peace; problems are solved and always a new equilibrium 
is established somehow or other. But because there was 
an overriding authority — that is, the British power in 
India — it prevented that natural equilibrium from being 
established in India from time to time and many things 
continued in India, which were completely out of date 
and out of place and which had no strength behind them, 
no roots in them. They were kept up, propped up, by 
an external authority. And so, problems accumulated 
— social, economic, political. As soon as the British left 
India, suddenly we had to face all those problems. We knew, 
of course, that we would have to face them. It was a big 
change. It was brought about co-operatively and peacefully 
and rather remarkably, for which credit is due to both the 
parties concerned, England and India. Nevertheless, however 
peacefully it was brought about, those arrested problems 
suddenly emerged. Not only did they emerge but all our 
people, who had been waiting for long years for political 
freedom, expected great things to come — great things in the 
sense of material betterment. Certainly, we wanted these 



208 


JAWAHARLAI, NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949 1953 


great things to come. Certainly, we had told them 'that 
freedom confined to the political sphere would not be enough. 
It has no meaning to give a vote to a starving man. 

We had talked to the people in economic terms also and 
they expected a tremendous change suddenly, rather un- 
reasonably, because these magic changes cannot take place 
suddenly. Just at this moment came other things — came 
the partition of India. It came without our liking it. We 
were apprehensive of the consequences; therefore, we had 
resisted it. Ultimately, we came to the conclusion that 
Partition was probably a lesser evil than the continuation 
of an inner conflict which was delaying our freedom. We 
were anxious to have that freedom as quickly as possible. 
So we agreed to the partition. That Partition, as it turned 
out to be in its consequences, was far worse than even what 
we had anticipated. It was the cutting up of a living structure, 
of everything — all our Services, whether the Army or civil 
Services, transport and railways, communications, tele- 
phones, telegraphs and the postal system, irrigation and 
canals. Many families, domestic households, were suddenly 
cut in two. An extraordinary situation arose overnight. It 
created tremendous new problems, among which were 
upheavals, deplorable happenings and killings and then vast 
migrations. All our energies, that ought to have been devoted 
to constructive effort, to economic betterment, which we 
had planned for years previously, suddenly had to be applied 
to tackle these new problems. We had 410 time or leisure or 
resources left to deal with the other and more basic problems. 
Nevertheless, the world didn’t stop. India could not stop. 
And we did try to deal with the basic problems to some 
extent. 

Our basic problem is the land problem, as it is all over 
Asia. And we have gone pretty far in changing the whole 
antiquated and unfair land system in India. We are putting 
an end to the great landed estates and giving the land to the 
peasant, compensating the previous owner. This process is 
going on now. Some months ago, in my own province in 
India, that is, the United Provinces, which is the biggest 
province and has the enormous population of about sixty 



FRIENDLY CO-OPERATION 


209 


millions, we introduced a great reform in local self-govern- 
ment. In all the villages, a vast number of villages, every 
adult voted in what was probably one of the biggest elections 
that any country has had. We are going to have that all over 
India. That particular reform in local self-government, 
affecting all the villages, was really initiated some years ago 
when my sister, who is our Ambassador here, was the 
Minister for local self-government in that province. Now, 
this is an extraordinary and a most interesting experiment 
Partly it is new. Partly it is going back to village self- 
government that existed before the British came. Anyhow, it 
is a tremendous experiment in democracy, in portant 
perhaps, because it is more basic than the Assemble that we 
may choose at the top. So, all these things have gone on. 
We are also proceeding with big river valley schemes which 
are basic for our development. All that has happened. But 
I want you to realize the background in which we have 
functioned. It has been made difficult by die after-effects of 
the war — and by all the other things that have happened. 
Still, 1 have little doubt that India is making good and going 
ahead. 

There is a great deal of talk of Asia being a unit. Asia is 
in a sense a geographical unit, has been a unit in many other 
ways but in the main it was a unit in a negative sense. That 
is to say, practically all of Asia became the colonial domain 
of various European Powers. It was a unit in that sense; a 
Colonial domain where various different peoples were strug- 
gling for freedom against European imperialists; it was a 
unit because of their struggles and a certain commonness of 
purpose. But there is, at the same time, a great deal of diver- 
sity. It is not quite correct to think of Asia as a compact 
unit. There is not very much in common between the 
Chinese and those who live in Western Asia; they represent 
entirely different cultural, historical and other backgrounds. 
So also, you can separate other regions of Asia. There is 
the Far Eastern region, the Middle Eastern, the Arab, the 
Iranian and the rest. Now whichever region you may take, 
India inevitably comes into the picture. The Arab world 
may have nothing to do with the Chinese world or with 



210 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


South-East Asia — something perhaps but not much. But 
India has a great deal to do with the Middle Eastern world, 
has a great deal to do with the Chinese world and a great 
deal to do with South-East Asia. India, geographically speak- 
ing, is a pivot; it is centrally situated from the strategic as 
well as every other point of view. 

I have said that we have no desire to play a leading role 
in the international sphere except when we are compelled by 
circumstances. People talk about India’s desire for leadership 
in Asia. We have no desire for leadership anywhere. Our 
greatest anxiety and yearning today is to build up India and 
to solve somehow the problems that face us; and then, in so 
far as we can, to serve the other good causes we have at 
heart in Asia and in the rest of the world and to co-operate 
with other countries in the United Nations and elsewhere. 
Whether we want to or not, we realize that we simply cannot 
exist in isolation. No country can. Certainly we cannot. Our 
geography, our history, the present events, all drag us into 
a wider picture. 

I have been asked whether it had struck me that there 
might be a certain parallel between the United States in the 
early years and India. It has, in the sense that a big country 
grew up here. Certain relatively smaller countries were 
around it — to the south especially — and economically and 
otherwise they were influenced greatly by the presence of 
this dominating country in the north. So, I was asked how 
the presence of a big country like India affected the 
surrounding smaller countries and whether it had the same 
type of effect. The parallel is not exact. Nevertheless, there is 
much in it. Whether we want to or not, in India we have 
to play an important role. It is not to our liking, because we 
have enough burdens of our own and we do not wish to add 
to them. But, as I said, we just can’t choose in the matter. 
India, in Southern, Western and South-Eastern Asia, has 
to play a distinctive and important role. If she is not capable 
of playing it properly, then she will just fade out. 

I am quite convinced that there is no question of India 
fading out. Therefore, only the other role remains. Because of 
that and also because the United States is playing a vital role 



FRIENDLY CO OPERATION 


211 


in world affairs today — again hardly from choice but through 
the development of certain circumstances, through necessity 
almost — it seems natural for an Indian to think of closer 
relations with the American people and this great country. 
1 think and 1 have been told that it is natural, in the present 
context, for many Americans to think of the importance of 
India in this respect. Therefore, the question of India and the 
United States understanding each other and developing 
closer relations is not only important from the point of view 
of these two countries but has a larger importance and 
significance. 

Whether India has anything special to teach to the United 
States, I do not know. That is for you to judge. Certainly, I 
have not come to the United States to teach anybody any- 
thing. I have come here to impiove my own education as far 
as possible, to learn something from America and to learn 
something about the world through American eyes, because 
both are important for me. 1 believe I still letain something 
of the spirit of a student and the curiosity of youth. It is not 
only this curiosity but rather a compelling necessity that 
makes me feel that I ought or rather that we in India ought 
to understand America better. Whether we agree with 
everything that the United States does or does not do is 
another matter. 

This business of agreeing or not agreeing might be looked 
at in many ways. I think it is a wrong approach for any 
country or any people to expect complete agreement with 
another country or people about all things or to expect a 
duplication of their own ways and methods of thinking and 
action and life in the other country. The world naturally 
grows more uniform. Nevertheless, there is a great deal of 
variety in it, not only external variety in ways of life but a 
mental and emotional variety, too, because of different 
backgrounds and historical developments. If we seek to 
understand a people, we have to try to put ourselves, as far 
as we can. in that particular historical and cultural back- 
ground. Normally, people do not make such an attempt at 
all. They feel rather irritated that the other person is so 
unlike them or does things in a different way. No attempt is 



212 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-195S 


made to understand, except rarely. I have an idea that many 
of our present problems — international troubles — are due 
to the fact that the emotional and cultural backgrounds of 
people differ so much. It is not easy for a person from one 
country to enter into the background of another country. 
So, there is great irritation, because a fact that seems obvious 
to us is not immediately accepted by the other party or 
doesn’t seem obvious to him at all. Even when we understand 
the other party’s background we may not be able to convince 
him or he may not be able to convince us. But that extreme 
irritation will go when we think, not that the other person 
is either exceedingly stupid or exceedingly obstinate in not 
recognizing a patent fact as we see it but that he is just 
differently conditioned and simply can’t get out of that 
condition. If you understand that, perhaps, your approach 
to him will be different from that blatant, direct approach 
which ends in this direct and blatant approach to you and 
which ultimately ends in the mutual use of strong language 
without the least understanding of each other’s mind or 
function. One has to recognize that, whatever the future may 
hold, countries and people differ in their approach and their 
ways, in their approach to life and their way of living and 
thinking. In order to understand them we have to understand 
their ways of life and approach. If we wish to convince them, 
we have to use their language as far as we can, not language 
in the narrow sense of the word but the language of the 
mind. That is one necessity. Something that goes even much 
further than that is not the appeal to logic and reason but 
some kind of emotional awareness of the other people. 

If I may refer again to my personal experience during 
the eight days of my stay here, I have met many Americans. 
I had met distinguished Americans during the past years in 
India and in Europe. I have studied a good deal of American 
history. I have read a good many famous American 
periodicals. So, I have a fair knowledge, as far as a foreigner 
can have, of the American background. Nevertheless, the last 
eight days here have brought to me, although sub-consciously 
— because I made my mind receptive to impressions and 
influences — some kind of an emotional awareness, apart 



FRIENDLY CO-OPERATION 


21S 


from an intellectual understanding, of the American people. 
People tell me — and it is very likely — that I can’t know what 
the United States of America is after just three days in 
Washington and a week in New York. Nevertheless, even 
my present experience has brought that emotional awareness 
to me, which helps me much more in understanding the 
American people and the United States than all my previous 
reading and intellectual effort. Therefore, this kind of 
personal contact and receptivity of mind is helpful and, 
indeed, desirable. 

You will not expect me to say that I admire everything 
that I find here in the United States. I don’t. The United 
States has got a reputation abroad — Mrs. Roosevelt referred 
to it — of being materialistic and of being tough in matters of 
money. Well, I could not imagine that any country could 
achieve greatness even in the material field without some 
basic moral and spiritual background. Also, Americans are 
supposed to be very hardheaded businessmen. I have found 
a very great deal of generosity and an enormous amount of 
hospitality and friendliness. Now, all this creates that emo- 
tional atmosphere that helps in the development of friendly 
relations and in the understanding of individuals as well as 
nations. I shall go back from here much richer than I came, 
richer in experience, richer in the fund of memories that I 
take back and richer in the intellectual and emotional 
understanding and appreciation of the people of this great 
country. 

Someone referred to the part that the women of India 
played in our struggle for fredom. There is no doubt that 
the part the women of India played was not only significant 
but of paramount importance in that struggle; it made all 
the difference in the world. I am quite convinced that in 
India today progress can be and should be measured by the 
progress of the women of India. In a political and outward 
sense they had fewer barriers to face than the women of 
some European countries and, perhaps, even here; I mean in 
regard to the vote and other things. They had to face certain 
social barriers which you have not had. Our political move- 
ment swept away many of those social barriers and brought 

IJ— II DFD/63 



214 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 

the women out. That shows that our political movement was 
something much more than a political movement, because 
it affected the lives of all classes of people. It touched those 
unfortunate people who had suffered so long, who are called 
the untouchables. They are not all untouchables; politically 
speaking, they are called untouchables. The movement 
affected them, affected the country’s reaction to them. It 
affected women. It affected children. It affected the 
peasantry, the industrial workers and others. So, it was a 
vital movement which affected every class and every group 
in India. That is what a real movement should be. And in 
this movement the women of India, undoubtedly, played an 
exceedingly important part. Today, as perhaps you know, 
we have women in our Central cabinet and I believe in one 
or two provincial cabinets also. We had a woman governor 
in our biggest province. We have a woman among our 
ambassadors. In almost all fields of work our women take an 
active part. 


ASIA IS RENASCENT 

1 am happy to be in the capital of this great Dominion and to 
bring to you the greetings and good wishes of the Govern- 
ment and people of India. During the past twelve months, it 
has been my privilege to be associated in important discussions 
with your Prime Minister, Mr St. Laurent, and your 
Secretary of State, Mr Pearson. We have had to consider 
many difficult problems and I am revealing no secret when 
I say that our point of view and that of Canada were identical 
or very near to each other on almost every issue. In particular, 
I should like to refer to the spirit of understanding shown 
by your Government and your representative at the meeting 
of Dominion Prime Ministers, held in London last April, 
in the determination of our future relationship with the 


Speech delivered in the Canadian Parliament Ottawa, October 24, 1949 



ASIA IS RENASCENT 


215 


Commonwealth. That spirit is in the great tradition of your 
leaders, Sir John MacDonald, Sir Wilfred Laurier and your 
last Prime Minister, Mr Mackenzie King, who is happily 
still with us. That tradition has been one of association with 
the Commonwealth in complete freedom, unfettered by 
any outside control. Canada has been a pioneer in the evolu- 
tion of this relationship and, as such, one of the builders of 
the Commonwealth as an association of free and equal 
nations. India, as you know, will soon become a republic 
but will remain a member of the Commonwealth. Our past 
co-operation will not, therefore, cease or alter with the 
change in our status. On the contrary, it w ill hr.v’e the 
greater strength because common endeavour denves from 
a sense that it is inspired and sustained by the free will of 
free peoples. I am convinced that this developmer <l in the 
history of the Commonwealth, without parallel elsewhere or 
at any other time, is a significant step towards peace and 
co-operation in the world. 

Of even greater significance is the manner of its achieve- 
ment. Only a few years ago, Indian nationalism was in 
conflict with British imperialism and that conflict brought in 
its train ill will, suspicion and bitterness, although because 
of the teaching of our great leader Mahatma Gandhi, there 
was far less ill will than in any other nationalist struggle 
against foreign domination. Who would have thought then 
that suspicion and bitterness would largely fade away so 
rapidly, giving place to friendly co-operation between free 
and equal nations? That is an achievement for which all 
those who are concerned with it can take legitimate credit. 
It is an outstanding example of the peaceful solution of 
difficult problems and a solution that is a real one because it 
does not create other problems. The rest of the world might 
well pay heed to this example. 

Canada is a vast country and its extent is continental. It 
faces Europe across the Atlantic and Asia across the Pacific. 
Past history explains youi preoccupation, thus far, with 
European affairs Past history as well as geography explains 
the depth and intimacy of our interest in Asia. But in the 
world of today, neither you nor we can afford to be purely 



216 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-195S 

national or even continental in our outlook; the world has 
become too small for that. If we do not all co-operate and 
live at peace with one another, we stumble on one another 
and clutch at one another’s throats. 

We talk of the East and the West, of the Orient and the 
Occident and yet these divisions have little reality. In fact, 
the so-called East is geographically the West tor you. During 
the last two or three hundred years, some European nations 
developed an industrial civilization and thus became different 
in many ways from the East which was still primarily 
agricultural. The new strength that technical advance gave 
them added to their wealth and power and an era of colonia- 
lism and imperialism began during which the greater part 
of Asia came under the domination of some countries of 
Europe. In the long perspective of history this was a brief 
period and already we are seeing the end of it. The imperia- 
lism which was at its height during the last century and a 
half has largely faded away and only lingers in a few countries 
today. There can be little doubt that it will end in these 
remaining countries also and the sooner it ends the better 
for the peace and security of the world. 

Asia, the mother of continents and the cradle of history’s 
major civilizations, is renascent today. The dawn of its 
newly acquired freedom is turbulent because during these 
past two centuries its growth was arrested, frustration was 
widespread and new forces appeared. These forces were 
essentially nationalist, seeking political freedom; but behind 
them was the vital urge for bettering the economic condi- 
tion of the masses of the people. Where nationalism was 
thwarted there was conflict, as there is conflict today where 
it is being thwarted, for example, in South-East Asia. To 
regard the present unsettled state of South-East Asia as a result 
or as part of an ideological conflict would be a dangerous 
error. The troubles and discontents of this part of the world 
and indeed of the greater part of Asia are the result of 
obstructed freedom and dire poverty. The remedy is to accele- 
rate the advent of freedom and to remove them. If this is 
achieved, Asia will become a powerful factor for stability and 
peace. The philosophy of Asia has been and is the philosophy 



ASIA IS RENASCENT 


217 


of peace. 

There is another facet to the Asian situation to which 
reference must be made. The so-called revolt of Asia is the 
legitimate striving of ancient and proud peoples against the 
arrogance of certain Western nations. Racial discrimination 
is still in evidence in some countries and there is still not 
enough realization of the importance of Asia in the councils 
of the world. 

India’s championship for freedom and racial equality in 
Asia as well as in Africa is a natural urge of the facts of 
geography and history. India desires no leadership or 
dominion or authority over any country. Bur v»e are 
compelled by circumstances to play our part in Asia and in 
the world, because we are convinced that unless th se basic 
problems of Asia are solved, there can be no world peace. 
Canada, with her traditions of democracy, her sense of justice 
and her love for fair play, should be able to understand our 
purpose and our motives and to use her growing wealth 
and power to extend the horizons of freedom, to promote 
order and liberty and to remove want and thus to ensure 
lasting peace. 

India is an old nation and yet today she has within her 
something of the spirit and dynamic quality of youth. Some of 
the vital impulses which gave strength to India in past ages 
inspire us still and, at the same time, we have learned much 
from the West in social and political values, in science and 
technology. We have still much to learn and much to do, 
especially in the application of science to problems of social 
well-being. We have gained political freedom and the urgent 
task before us today is to improve rapidly the economic 
conditions of our people and to fight relentlessly against 
poverty and social ills. We are determined to apply ourselves 
to these problems and to achieve success. We have the will 
and the natural resources and the human material to do so 
and our immediate task is to harness them for human better- 
ment. For this purpose, it is essential for us to have a period 
of peaceful development and co-operation with other nations. 

The peace of one country cannot be assured unless there 
is peace elsewhere also. In this narrow and contracting world. 



218 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


war and peace and freedom are becoming indivisible. There- 
fore, it is not enough for one country to secure peace within 
its own borders but it is also necessary that it should 
endeavour, to its utmost capacity, to help in the maintenance 
of peace all over the world. 

The world is full of tension and conflict today. Behind 
this tension lies an ever growing fear that is the parent of so 
many ills. There are also economic causes that can be reme- 
died only by economic means. There can be no security or 
real peace if vast numbers of people in various parts of the 
world live in poverty and misery. Nor, indeed, can there be 
a balanced economy for the world as a whole if the un- 
developed parts continue to upset that balance and to drag 
down even the more prosperous nations. Both for economic 
and political reasons, therefore, it has become essential to 
develop these undeveloped regions and to raise the standards 
of the people there. Technical advance and industrialization 
in these regions will not mean any injury to those countries 
which are already highly industrialized. International trade 
grows as more and more countries produce more goods and 
supply the wants of mankind. Our industrialization has a 
predominantly social aim to meet the pressing wants of the 
great majority of our own people. 

This age we live in has been called the atomic age. Vast 
new sources of energy are being tapped but instead of think- 
ing of them in terms of service and betterment of mankind, 
men’s thoughts turn to destructive purposes. Destruction 
by these new and terrible weapons of war can only lead to 
unparalleled disaster for all concerned and yet people talk 
lightly of war and bend their energies to prepare for it. A 
very distinguished American said the other day that the use 
of the atom bomb might well be likened to setting a house 
on fire in order to rid it of some insects and termites. 

Dangers, undoubtedly, threaten us and we must be on 
our guard against them and take all necessary precautions. 
But we must always remember that the way to serve or 
protect mankind is not to destroy the house in which it lives 
and all that it contains. 

The problem of maintaining world peace and of divert- 



ASIA IS RENASCENT 


219 


ing our minds and energies lo that end thus becomes one o£ 
paramount importance. All of us talk of peace and the 
desirability of it but do we all serve it faithfully and 
earnestly? Even in our struggle for freedom, our great 
leader showed us the path of peace. In the larger context of 
the world, we must inevitably follow that path to the best 
of oiir ability. I am convinced that Canada, like India, is 
earnestly desirous of maintaining peace and freedom. Both 
our respective countries believe in democracy and the 
democratic method and in individual and national freedom. 
In international affairs, therefore, our objectives are similar 
and we have found no difficulty thus far in co-opera ing for 
the achievement of these aims. I am here to asuire the 
Government and people of Canada of our earnest desire to 
work for these ends in co-opeiation with them. The differences 
that have existed in our minds about the East and the West 
have little substance today and we are all partners in the 
same great undertaking. I have little doubt that in spite of 
the dangers that beset the world today, the forces of construc- 
tive and co-operative effort for human betterment will 
succeed and the spirit of man will triumph again. 

I thank you again, Sir, and the hon. Members of this 
Parliament, who shoulder a great responsibility, for your 
friendly and cordial welcome and for your good wishes for 
my country. I realize that this welcome was extended to me 
not as an individual but as a representative and a symbol 
of my nation and I am sure that my people will appreciate 
and welcome the honour you have done them and will look 
forward to fruitful harmony of endeavour between our two 
countries for the accomplishment of common tasks. 

Avant de conclure, Monsieur le Premier Ministre, je 
voudrais bien dire quelques mots dans la langue francaise. 
Je regrette que je n’ai pas la maitrise de parler longuement 
dans cette belle langue. Mais je vous assure que nous 1’aimons 
vivement, et je vous apporte, vous canadiens francais, les 
salutations et les voeus chaleureux due peuple et du govern- 
ment de 1'Inde, auequels j’ajoute les miens. 



Our policy is positive 


P erhaps it will suit the convenience of the House if I make 
some kind of a general statement about the work we are 
doing and the policy we are attempting to pursue in regard to 
our foreign affairs. 

I shall not endeavour to go into the intricate details of 
what is happening all over the world, although, situated as 
we are and being an independent country of substance and 
importance, it is quite impossible for us to keep away from 
the many things that happen in the various parts of the 
world. Ever since India became independent, we have been 
interested in these various happenings all over the world. 
Indeed, we were interested in foreign affairs even before. 
But the first thing that we kept in view was to build our own 
country on solid foundations and not to get entangled in 
matters which did not directly affect us. Not that we are not 
interested in those matters but the burden of these entangle- 
ments would be too great and, as the House knows, the 
problems we had to face in our own country were big enough 
for any country to face. 

Our general approach has been, as far as possible, one of 
non-interference in the various conflicts in other parts of the 
world. As the House may judge, we have followed this policy 
with greater or less success. Of course, as a Member of the 
United Nations, we have to participate in debates and express 
our opinion. In many subsidiary organs of the United Nations 
dealing with other matters, we had to express our opinion, 
particularly in relation to Asiatic countries with which India 
has a special relation. When the world is full of tensions and 
possible conflicts and people’s passions are excited, it is a little 
difficult to look with equanimity at a country which tries 
not to be entangled in this way and which does not allow 
momentary passions to govern its actions. So, it happens 
that other countries regard with a certain amount of dis- 
approval a policy which they consider either unwise or weak 
or a policy of inaction or of some kind of neutrality. 

Speech while presenting the budget demand for the Ministry of External 
Affairs in Parliament, New Delhi, March 17, 1950 



OUR POLICY IS POSITIVE 


221 


I have often ventured to point out, in this House, that 
the policy we were pursuing was not merely neutral or 
passive or negative but that it was a policy which flowed 
from our historical as well as our recent past, from our 
national movement and from the various ideals that we have 
proclaimed from time to time. If the House considers other 
different but, nevertheless, comparable countries and situa- 
tions, it will realize that since India has to guard her newly 
won independence and solve many problems that have 
accumulated in the past, it becomes inevitable that she 
should follow a policy that will help as best as it can to main- 
tain world peace and also avoid, as far as possible, entangle- 
ments in world conflicts. Whether that is possible or not is 
another question; how far our influence can make a difference 
to world forces is still another question. I do not pretend to 
say that India, as she is, can make a vital difference to world 
affairs. So long as we have not solved most of our own 
problems, our voice cannot carry the weight that it normally 
will and should. Nevertheless, every little thing counts in a 
crisis and we want our weight felt and our voice heard in 
quarters which are for the avoidance of world conflict. 

We wanted to follow not a merely neutral or negative 
policy but a positive one, naturally helping those forces that 
we consider right and naturally disapproving of the things 
that we do not like, but fundamentally keeping away from 
other countries and other alignments of powers which nor- 
mally lead to major conflicts. That does not mean that, in 
our economic life or in other spheres of life, we do not incline 
this way or that; it does, however, mean, in the jargon of the 
day, that we do not line up with this or that set of forces but 
try to maintain a certain friendliness and spirit of co-opera- 
tion with both the great and the small countries of the world. 

The House knows what we are up against today. For 
some years past we have talked about the atom bomb. 
But the atom bomb is supposed to have become a back 
number with the coming of the hydrogen bomb. I 
suppose, few people except the high experts know what 
the hydrogen bomb actually is. But, from what little 
information we can gather, it seems to be something 



222 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-195S 


which may well destroy the world or a great part of it if it is 
used on a large scale. 

Now we have come to the stage where some people 
seriously think in terms of large-scale destruction as a solution 
to all problems and conflicts. Logically, it seems an odd way 
of solving a problem. It is the way of ridding an individual of 
his disease by killing him or trying to cure a headache by 
cutting off the head of the person concerned. Nevertheless, 
it is significant and indicative of what the world is thinking 
today, that people should even think of the use of such 
weapons of utter destruction as the hydrogen bomb. So far 
as we are concerned, we can only express pious opinions 
about it, because we neither have nor are we likely to have 
the hydrogen bomb. 

I shall not say anything about our world policy in a large 
sense except that nothing has happened in recent months to 
make us change the essentials of the policy we have been 
pursuing. Obviously, minor shifts or minor directions may be 
given to that policy but in its major aspects, major essentials 
or major directions I think the policy we have been pursuing 
is a correct policy and, indeed, it is the only policy that a 
country like India can pursue. 

May I just refer to a period of history when a very great 
nation of the modern world, the United States of America, 
attained her freedom? It seems a long time ago and we 
perhaps imagine that the conflicts of today are more vital 
and more serious than the conflicts of a hundred and fifty 
years ago. In some ways that may be true. About a hundred 
and fifty years ago, the Western world was breaking up on 
account of all kinds of imperial and revolutionary wars. 
Having achieved independence by breaking off from the 
British Empire, the United States was naturally affected 
by these upheavals; nevertheless, it avoided being involved 
in the chaotic situation of Europe — although it doubtless 
had its particular sympathies — because that was the natural 
thing for a nation in that state of affairs to do. Now, this 
analogy, although it may not be a particularly good one in 
the circumstances of today, has a bearing and I wish to point 
out to this House that for a country that has newly attained 



OUR POLICY IS POSITIVE 


229 


freedom and independence, this is the natural policy to 
pursue. 

I referred to the United States of America, because, as the 
House knows, a few months ago I visited that great country. 
1 had thus the honour and privilege of meeting not only the 
.great ones and being accorded a most cordial and friendly 
welcome but also of receiving that welcome from the so- 
called common people of that land. It showed what an 
abundance of friendship and goodwill they had for our 
country. I value that very much and I was greatly impressed 
by it as also by the great achievements of the United States 
of America, from which we can learn so much. Naturally, 
I do not wish my country merely to copy another, because in 
whatever direction we may grow we must grow out of the 
roots from which our nation draws sustenance and follow the 
genius of our people. Nevertheless, I feel that we can learn 
a great deal from the U.S.A. as well as from other countries 
of the West and we should take every opportunity of doing 
so. If India is to grow and prosper, she cannot do so by 
sticking only to her roots and isolating herself from the rest 
of the world. Therefore, we must strike a balance between 
the two extremes and then only can we make good. 

Whatever the field of activity — and this applies specially 
to the field of foreign policy — India must function accord- 
ing to the ways and methods of her own thinking, if she is to 
have any weight. India today is, fortunately, not small in 
extent, importance, potential resources or in her back- 
ground of thought and action. When she fails or succeeds, 
she does so because of her own weakness or strength and not 
because of external factors. 

The biggest fact of the modern world is the resurgence of 
Asia. It is a tremendous event: there is a great deal of good in 
it as well as a great deal we do not like, as always happens 
when major transformations take place. It affects us because 
we are in Asia; even more so because we are in a strategic 
part of Asia, set in the centre of the Indian Ocean, with 
intimate past and present connections with Western Asia, 
South-East Asia and Far Eastern Asia. Even if we could, 
we would not want to ignore this fact. Now that the greater 



224 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


part of Asia is free from the colonialism of the past, our 
minds inevitably go back to the old days and old relationships 
with other countries in Western, Eastern and South-Eastern 
Asia. Our mind tries to skip this colonial period, to some 
extent, as we pick up the old threads again — the old threads 
that have to be picked up in a new way because new condi- 
tions have arisen. 

The House knows how much active and friendly interest 
we took in the Indonesian Republic, which is now the United 
States of Indonesia. The House will also remember that we 
had the honour and privilege, a short while ago, of wel- 
coming here the President of the United States of Indonesia, 
Dr Soekarno. He came here, not only as the head of that great 
new independent State but as a gallant fighter for freedom 
and a fighter who had achieved his objective in spite of very 
great difficulties. It was a pleasure to meet him here, to confer 
with him and to find how much in common we had in our 
national and individual outlooks. So, we become more and 
more intimately connected, not by formal treaties and 
alliances and pacts but by bonds which are much more 
secure, much more binding — the bonds of mutual under- 
standing and interest and, if I may say so, even of mutual 
affection. 

Then there is Burma which has seen a great deal of 
internal trouble during the last two or three years and has 
faced enormous difficulties. Naturally, our Government and 
our people are interested in the present and future of Burma. 
It is not our purpose — and it is not right for us — to interfere 
in any way with other countries but, wherever possible, we 
give such help as we can to our friends. We have ventured to 
do so in regard to Burma, too, without any element of 
interference. 

Geographically, Nepal is almost a part of India, although 
she is an independent country. Recently, the Prime Minister 
of Nepal visited India. We welcomed and conferred with 
this distinguished personage and it was clear that, in so far 
as certain developments in Asia were concerned, the interests 
of Nepal and India were identical. For instance, to mention 
one point, it is not possible for the Indian Government to 



OUR POLICY IS POSITIVE 


225 


tolerate an invasion of Nepal from anywhere, even though 
there is no military alliance between the two countries. Any 
possible invasion of Nepal, of which, incidentally, I have not 
the slightest apprehension, would inevitably involve the safety 
of India. I merely wish to point out to the House and to 
others what our policy in such matters is bound to be. 

Ffeedom interests us in the abstract as well as in the guise 
of a practical and, in the context of Asia, a necessary step. 
If it does not come, forces that will ultimately disrupt freedom 
itself will be created and encouraged. We have accordingly 
advised the Government of Nepal, in all earnestness, to bring 
themselves into line with democratic forces that are siirring 
in the world today. Not to do so is not only wrong but also 
unwise from the point of view of what is happening in the 
world today. 

Among our other neighbours, there is Afghanistan, for 
example, with whom we recently concluded a treaty of 
friendship. The history of our relationship shows conflicts as 
well as long periods of friendship and cultural contacts. It has 
been a great satisfaction to us that these old contacts have 
not only been renewed between independent India and 
Afghanistan but have actually progressed. And we are, there- 
fore, on the friendliest terms with the latter. May I say in 
this connection that, because of the great tension between 
Pakistan and Afghanistan over various matters, we are 
continually being charged with having secret intrigues with 
Afghanistan and bringing pressure upon her to adopt a policy 
in regard to Pakistan which she might not otherwise have 
done? That, of course, I regret to say, is one of the numer- 
ous things without foundation which emanate from Pakistan. 
We are certainly friendly to Afghanistan. We are also 
interested in the future of many of the Frontier areas and the 
peoples who inhabit them. We are interested, whatever the 
political and international aspect may be, because we had 
close bonds with them in the past and no political change can 
put an end to our memories and to our old links. 

I have always hesitated to refer to some of the things that 
were happening in the Frontier Province because it was not 
our policy to criticize the internal affairs of Pakistan. But 



226 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 

sometimes I have been compelled by circumstances to make a 
brief reference to the fate of our colleagues and friends who 
played a more important part than most of us in the struggle 
for freedom. It would be false and, indeed, inhuman of us to 
forget these friends who stood side by side with us for a whole 
generation in the fight for India’s freedom. We are, therefore, 
intimately interested but it is a matter for abiding regret to 
us that we can only be interested from a distance without 
being able to help in any way. 

Among the other countries of Asia, I should briefly like to 
mention Indo-China which has come to the fore recently 
because of her internal conflicts. The policy we have pursued 
in regard to Indo-China has been one of absolute non- 
interference. Our interference could at best be a theoretical 
one. I don't think that either a theoretical or any other kind of 
interference in the affairs of a country struggling for freedom 
can do any good, because the countries which have been 
under colonial domination invariably resent foreign 
interference. Their nationalism cannot tolerate it; and even 
if interference comes with the best possible motives, it is often 
regarded as a kind of weapon in the hands of those who are 
opposed to nationalism. Besides, interference exposes them 
to the possible slur that their nationalism is not a free, inde- 
pendent nationalism but that it is controlled by others. That 
is why we have sought deliberately not to interfere with 
Indo-China and we intend to continue this policy. 

Then I come to that great country — China. Very great 
revolutionary changes have taken place in that country. 
Some people may approve of them and others may not. It is 
not a question of approving or disapproving; it is a question 
of recognizing a major event in history, of appreciating it 
and dealing with it. When it was quite clear, about three 
months ago, that the new Chinese Government, now in 
possession of practically the entire mainland of China, was a 
stable Government and that there was no force which was 
likely to supplant it, we offered recognition to this new 
Government and suggested that we might exchange 
diplomatic missions. Since then, events have moved rather 
slowly. It may partly be due to the fact that certain important 



OUR POLICY IS POSITIVE 


227 


members of that Government were away from their own 
country. In any event, the present position is that there is 
general agreement about such an exchange and a representa- 
tive of ours, who used to be Secretary at our Embassy in 
Nanking, has proceeded to Peking to discuss certain matters 
of detail with the Peking Government. I hope that, before 
long, Ambassadors will be exchanged between the two 
countries. 

As far as the rest of Asia is concerned, our relations are 
friendly and satisfactory with Iran as well as with other 
countries of the Middle East as it is called. Egypt, though 
not actually a part of it, is, nevertheless, associated with Asia 
and our relations are friendly with her also. 

To turn to another part of the world, we have recently 
had many new diplomatic missions from South America 
established in this country. Although South America is very 
far away and we have little knowledge of it in India, I think, 
there is a great deal in common between India and South 
America. I have little doubt that in the future the nations 
of South America will play an important and ever-growing 
part in world affairs and I, therefore, welcome these contacts 
with them. 

Then there is the great Continent of Africa which is still 
more or less a colonial continent. The House knows that we 
have recently sent a Minister to Ethiopia, one of the in- 
dependent parts of Africa. Also, we have played some part 
in the United Nations in determining the future of North 
Africa and we hope that, in the course of a few years, 
independent nations will be built up there, too. When one 
talks about the African problem, one thinks mainly of the 
great mass of people, the Negroes, who live in the great 
continent. Mighty forces are moving in Africa and great 
changes are likely to take place therein the course of this 
generation. If these changes take place peacefully and by 
co-operation, well and good; if not, I fear that tremendous 
conflagrations will take place there. Any conflict between 
nations is bad enough; but when that conflict takes a racial 
character, it is infinitely worse. Naturally, we in India have 
sympathy with the Africans and have repeatedly, not only as 



228 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1955 

a government but before we became a government, assured 
them that we do not want any Indian vested interest to grow 
in Africa at the expense of the African people. I am glad to 
say that a realization of this fact is helping to bring about 
friendly relations between Indians and Africans, in East 
Africa especially and in some other parts also. Recently, 
a conference, at which a distinguished member of this House 
represented us, was held in South Africa. The object was to 
discuss the problems of those South African nationals who are 
of Indian descent. Although this was only preparatory to a 
full round table conference, it succeeded as far as it went. 
The problem is, of course, a difficult one; nevertheless, we 
have gone one step forward in grappling with it. 

Coming nearer home, there is Ceylon, another 
independent country which has had the most intimate 
contacts with India for ages past and which is, in many 
ways, culturally very closely associated with us. I had an 
occasion to visit Ceylon some months ago and it was a great 
pleasure to me when I found that the friendliness of the 
Ceylonese people to us remained the same, even though we 
argue a great deal on the governmental level and cannot 
sometimes find agreement. I am sorry that the problem of 
Indians in Ceylon is still not wholly solved. I hope that some 
way out will be found, because in regard to Ceylon and India 
I refuse to think in terms of any kind of conflict. 

May I now come to our relations with Pakistan, which 
have, ever since we became independent, completely over- 
shadowed not only much of out domestic life but to some 
extent our foreign policy also? We agreed to the constitution 
of Pakistan by the partition of India because of a variety of 
things that had happened previously. We accepted it as a 
fact and we hoped that it would at least solve some of the 
problems that had troubled us. We did not accept it at any 
time on the basis of a two-nation theory but on the basis of 
some kind of territorial self-determination. Clearly, it was 
impossible to divide India on the basis of separate religious 
groups on one side or the other, because they were bound to 
overlap. It was also clearly understood that those com- 
munities which would become the minority communities on 



OUR POLICY IS POSITIVE 


229 


either side must have the fullest protection and fullest 
security for their lives; otherwise the whole structure which 
we had built up would collapse. 

Unfortunately, upheavals took place in North India and 
Pakistan immediately after the partition — and they were up- 
heavals of such an inhuman nature and magnitude that none 
of us; in his wildest moment, could have imagined they 
were possible. I am not going into that. I shall only say 
that certain large scale migrations resulted. This imposed 
tremendous hardships on millions of people who had been 
uprooted and for whom it is so difficult to find roots again. 
All that happened; it came like a flood and we were over- 
whelmed by it. It is all very well for people to tell us, “Why 
didn’t you think about this and prepare for it?” I do not 
know how any human being could have thought of it and 
prepared for it. Anyhow, it occurred, we made a great effort 
to stop it, to try to draw a line beyond which it should not 
go and to find some kind of an equilibrium again. 

In those first days and months which were so full of 
tragedy, we had the great advantage of the presence of 
Mahatma Gandhi here and I do not know what would have 
happened without him. But he left us, almost — I might 
perhaps say — as a consequence of those happenings and the 
passions that they had unleashed. We had thus far dealt, you 
will remember, with West Punjab and the Frontier Province 
on the one side and East Punjab, a bit of Delhi and certain 
other areas on the other. In the Provinces of Sind, East Bengal 
and West Bengal, nothing had happened to begin with and 
we hoped that nothing much would happen. 

But gradually we found that, in the Province of Sind, 
conditions were such as to make it difficult for the minority 
community to continue to live there. There was a ceaseless 
stream from Sind pouring into Northern India till at last Sind 
became almost bereft of any minority community except for 
certain scheduled classes, who remained there perforce, 
because they could not easily come away. This made us 
unhappy not only because of the fact that many people were 
upset and uprooted but rather because we began to see that 
the forces we had fought in the past and tried to neutralize 

W — 11 DPD/6J 



230 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-195S 


and overcome by all kinds of things, including the partition, 
were still at play. It suddenly dawned upon us that we had 
paid a very heavy price but what we had hoped to gain we 
had not gained: peace and equilibrium. 

Meanwhile, the stream also continued from East Bengal, 
although there were no major incidents either in East or 
West Bengal. Sometimes it came almost in a flood and 
sometimes it reduced itself to a trickle. In the course of the 
last two years or so, about 16 lakhs of people, that is, a 
million and six hundred thousand, came over from East 
Bengal. Some people also went from West Bengal to East 
Bengal during that period. I have no figures but I think their 
number was considerably less. May I tell the House that, 
during the last year and a half or two years, a possibility that 
has always frightened us has been the development of an 
evil situation in East Bengal and West Bengal. It has frighten- 
ed us because of the number and the great suffering involved. 
We discouraged in every possible way the migration of large 
numbers from one Bengal to the other. At one period, when 
it went down almost to a trickle, it seemed to us that we had 
probably stopped that migration. Unfortunately, in spite of 
our discouragement, people came over in hundreds of 
thousands. Then the events in the last two months or so have 
brought this problem, which had been a kind of bogey, 
right to the forefront. We have to face it and face it today. 

I shall now go back to some other problems affecting 
Pakistan and ourselves. There is the Kashmir problem. You 
must have seen that a certain resolution on Kashmir was 
passed by the Security Council a few days ago and that we 
have accepted the basic part of it. Nevertheless, our represen- 
tative, Sri B. N. Rau, had made it perfectly clear to the 
Security Council that certain implications of the Mac- 
Naughton formula were not acceptable to us. These implica- 
tions have to do with the so-called Azad Kashmir forces and 
the northern areas. We have made it perfectly clear at every 
stage that we could not accept any other position than the 
one we have put forward. We have emphasized, in our reply 
to the Security Council, the basic moral and legal factors 
which we think govern the situation and to which— especially 



OUR POLICY IS POSITIVE 


2S1 


to the moral factor — we attach great importance. 

Quite apart from all this, ultimately the future of 
Kashmir must necessarily depend upon the wishes of the 
people of Kashmir. Our inducement to participate in the 
affairs of Kashmir did not come only from the invitation of 
the Maharaja’s Government which was, of course, a forma] 
and legal invitation by the constituted authority of the day. 
What impressed us much more and, indeed, what actually 
induced us to participate, was the invitation from represen- 
tatives of the people there and we have remained there all 
this time only because of that. 

There are other important matters between Pakist m and 
us, for instance, the question of canal waters, of evacuee 
property and of devaluation with which my honourable 
colleague, the Finance Minister, is so much concerned. 
These are questions which, when they arise between two 
Governments, should essentially be considered on expert 
level. As far as canal waters are concerned, we have 
repeatedly suggested a Technical Commission which would 
enable engineers on both sides to determine how best to use 
the waters that are there and how best to add to their utility. 
If ultimately there is some shortage of water — which our 
engineers think there will not be — then there are other 
sources that can be tapped. The way of approach is that 
neither country should starve the other but that both should 
make the best use of the available water. It is eminently a 
question which can be decided without passion to the advan- 
tage of both countries and the first thing about it is a technical 
examination by both. 

If there are any matters which cannot be decided after a 
technical examination, we are perfectly prepared for an 
adjudication or a judicial decision. The Pakistan Government 
has been saying continually that we must agree here and now 
that this matter be referred to the International Court of 
Justice at the Hague. I have no objection to referring the 
subject to the Hague Court or to any court for that matter. 
But I do not personally think that the Hague Court is a 
suitable tribunal for this, because it will involve us in an 
enormous and lengthy process of litigation far away from us. 



252 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1955 

Anyway, whatever the means of arbitration, we need some- 
thing that can produce results fairly rapidly and must not 
prolong the agony. 

Evacuee property, too, is a matter for judicial and expert 
consideration. If necessary, I am also prepared to submit 
this problem to impartial arbitration or impartial judicial 
authority as the case may be. Here, too, we must devise means 
that will make a quick decision possible. 

Before I go back to the new situation that has arisen in 
Bengal, may I remind the House that some time ago I made 
an offer to the Pakistan Government that we should both 
subscribe to a ‘no war’ declaration on behalf of our Govern- 
ments? The draft that we proposed was published in the 
press and the House is no doubt aware of it. It was a very 
simple draft. The answer of the Pakistan Government was 
rather complicated; they said that before we did this, we 
must devise means for settling every other problem that we 
had, whether it was Kashmir or devaluation. I pointed out 
to them that it would be a very good thing if we could solve 
all our problems and that, if we were to solve them, the first 
step should be taken. What I wanted was to create an 
atmosphere which would help in the solution of those 
problems. So we went on arguing and the latest thing is a 
reply from the Prime Minister of Pakistan making various 
proposals about how the other problems should be tackled 
and what procedure should be laid down. Now, while this 
was happening, this eruption took place in East and West 
Bengal and I felt that there was a certain element of unreality 
in my talking about vague declarations, when we could not 
control the existing situation. 

There were a great many difficulties in the way of people 
coming away from East Bengal to West Bengal but most of 
those difficulties have been removed; certificates of domicile 
and income-tax clearance were required; they are not 
necessary now. Also, the people had to pass through four 
barriers, losing some of their belongings at each. The 
Customs barrier was a legitimate one; again a police barrier; 
then the Ansar barrier and finally a barrier of common folk 
who called themselves ‘Janagan,’ which means people 



OUR POLICY IS POSITIVE 


2H 

gathered together! I visited a big camp at Ranaghat where 
people are arriving daily. I found that many of them have 
been able to bring a fair quantity of luggage with them, 
pots, pans, utensils, beddings and in some cases trunks. 
Obviously, there had been a relaxation in the matter of people 
bringing goods. What they were deprived of was, I th ink , 
mostly hard cash, which was taken away or which they gave 
as some kind of bribe to the various people who stopped 
them, so that they might bring their other goods with them. 
In all, since February 13, I should imagine, about 150,000 
Hindus have come from East Bengal to Calcutta. About 
100,000 Muslims have left Calcutta for East Bengal ;.tid this 
process is continuing daily. Their traffic is, therefore, 
not exactly one-way. It is a two-sided affair and entirely 
voluntary in the sense that people are not pushed out; they 
leave under the stress of circumstances. 

As the House knows, there have recently been, in certain 
towns of U.P. and in Bombay, disturbances and incidents 
which I greatly deplore. A major disturbance also took 
place for two or three days in the Goalpara and Barpeta parts 
of Assam where there was an upheaval largely of the tribal 
folk, who swept down and committed a good deal of arson, 
driving away a fairly large number of Muslim inhabitants 
of those areas into either Pakistan or the nearby State of 
Cooch-Bihar. As far as I know, there was very little killing. 
I cannot say how many were driven away, because figures 
vary from 30,000 to double that number or more. 

These problems obviously raise very important questions 
for us. Some people talk excitedly about war, some people 
talk vaguely about the exchange of population and we have 
to consider every possible aspect of the problem. New, an 
exchange of population is something which we have opposed 
all along. It is something which I consider not only undesir- 
able but also not feasible. It is a question of arithmetic, apart 
from anything else. If we wanted an exchange of population 
between East and West Bengal and if we did it with the 
complete co-operation of both the Governments on expert 
level and with every facility given, it is calculated that it 
would take five and a half years and that, if no untoward 



254 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1955 


event happened. Of course, many untoward events will 
happen in the meantime and, of course, there will be no 
such magnificent co-operation between the two Governments 
either! All kinds of upheavals will take place during that 
period, so that one cannot think of this solution in terms of 
reality. 

Then again, where do we draw the line? The present 
position is that, so far as the Hindu population of East 
Bengal is concerned, one might say, generally speaking, that 
the entire population is full of fear and apprehension about 
the future and, given the opportunity, would like to come 
away from East Bengal. That is only their present feeling. I 
do not know, if they will actually come, when an opportunity 
is given. Perhaps, later some people will stick to their lands 
and other things. That will depend on the developing situa- 
tion and on whether they have security or not. Quite apart 
from the larger considerations of the problem, our opinion 
is that people, especially those who are in danger, should for 
the present be allowed to come away anyhow and that the 
door should be kept open for them to travel from one part of 
Bengal to the other. The relieving of the tension will itself 
result in lessening panic and giving a little more sense of 
security to these people. The limitation is really that of trans- 
port, that more of it is not available. Anything between 

5.000 and 8,000 people come over daily. Sometimes, there 
are 10,000 people a day. About 6,000 Muslims have been 
leaving Calcutta daily. On a particular day, there were 

14.000 Hindus coming in and 10,000 Muslims going out. 
The number varies. They come chiefly by train; some come 
by steamer and about 500 people a day travel either way by 
air, too. 

In this connection, it was suggested that a joint statement 
be made by Mr Liaquat Ali Khan and myself to meet the 
immediate situation of panic and danger, to prevent incidents 
from happening and to allow those who so desired to come 
away. We do not wish to encourage mass migration, partly 
because it would mean that people would suffer all kinds of 
hardships without being able to come away for a period at 
least. We also thought it important that full facilities be 



OUR POLICY IS POSITIVE 


2SS 


given to the people to migrate under adequate protection. 
It is thus proposed that a kind of joint statement be made for 
that limited purpose, which, to begin with, would lay down 
that each Government be fully responsible for the security 
and protection of its minorities; secondly, that the guilty be 
punished; thirdly, that those who have suffered be helped, 
rehabilitated and compensated; fourthly, that an intensified 
search be made for looted property and that those persons 
found in possession of it and who have not voluntarily 
returned it be considered guilty of having looted it and 
punished accordingly. Also, that forced conversions be not 
recognized and that every attempt be made to recover women 
who have been abducted. Finally, there will also be a 
reference to the punishing of people who spread wild 
rumours and false stories which add to the tension. This 
applies to newspapers also. There is also a suggestion that 
there should be, on both sides, a Committee of Enquiry to 
go into all these things and that it should be presided over 
by a High Court Judge and include a representative of the 
minorities. 

Obviously, this statement, if it were to be made, would 
have no great bearing on the major problem. The major 
problem would still remain. 

An hon. Member referred to the Dawn and other news- 
papers. Well, it is not for me to speak of this but what Pakistan 
newspapers contain is something amazing; the way they 
publish libellous things is astonishing. However, may I in 
this connection add that, on the last occasion when I referred 
to this matter in the House, I congratulated the Indian press 
on its restraint? Unfortunately, I am not able to do so 
today, because it has not shown restraint during the last 
week or two. I make this reference in all solemnity and 
seriousness, because I have been watching the press and I 
have seen what passions have been aroused through it. It is 
understandable. I am prepared to admit that there has been 
provocation. I am not comparing the Pakistan press with 
the Indian press but the fact is that the press has carried 
headlines and banner headlines which have excited the 
people. I am not saying that the facts should not be published 



286 JAWAHARI.AL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1958 

but it is a question of how they are published. I may refer to 
one of the best newspapers in India, The Hindu. The same 
facts have been published in it and in some other papers but 
it is all a question of how it is done. May I also suggest to 
you that it is a fantastic proposition for a newspaper to go 
about having a Gallup poll on war? It is an incitement. 
We may have war or we may not have war but if newspapers 
take the formulation of high policy in their hands in this way, 
then we might be led into all manners of adventures. 

Now, let me return to a very real problem. I was telling 
you that we were discussing the no-war declaration with 
Pakistan when all these things occurred and it seemed to me 
fantastic to talk about such a declaration when something 
that seemed worse than war was happening. It became 
rather farcical. We have, therefore to consider it in all its 
aspects. I shall put it to you quite frankly. Whatever policy 
we have to pursue in the future must necessarily depend 
largely on what happens in Pakistan and partly on what 
happens in India. Essentially, it cannot be formulated in 
theory, apart from the events that are happening. If there is 
a grave danger to the minorities in Pakistan, it is quite 
impossible for us to look on and remain calm. One does not 
know what might happen at any time. There have been no 
incidents but there is potential danger and one has to take 
all possible steps to prevent any untoward happening. 
Ultimately, protection in Pakistan can obviously be given by 
Pakistan alone. A country can give protection to its nationals 
only within its territory. It is quite clear that no position can 
be tolerated in the future where minorities do not have 
adequate protection and security. While we make this posi- 
tion clear to Pakistan, we have to make this clear to our- 
selves too. For, in a sense, the great responsibility has fallen 
on us. 

As far as Pakistan is concerned, she agreed to a cultural 
and human approach as the basis of Partition but such an 
approach does not follow from the policy of a State which is 
Islamic in conception. Protection might follow but not equal 
treatment. In so far as we are concerned, our old practice, 
our background — in fact, our very theory of State — compels 



A PROBLEM FOR THE UNITED NATIONS 


237 


us to follow a humanitarian policy. We shall be putting an 
end to everything we have stood for in the past if we slide in 
the slightest degree from that position. I myself am not 
prepared to move an iota from the position we have held in 
the past; therefore, the burden on us is all the greater. 


A PROBLEM FOR THE UNITED NATIONS 

r p he proposal to limit the United Nations by the exclusion 

of some nations has surprised me greatly. Indeed, t seems 
to forget the very purpose and the very name of th? United 
Nations. It is true that the high hopes with which the United 
Nations Organization was started have not been fulfilled. 
At the same time, there can be no doubt that the mere fact 
of its existence has saved us from many dangers and conflicts. 
Also, there is no doubt that in the world ot today, it is the 
only hope of finding a way for peaceful co-operation among 
nations. If the United Nations ceases to be or if it radically 
changes its position and nature, then there is nothing left 
which would inspire hope for the future. We shall have to 
go through terrible experiences and face disasters again 
before we return to something which offers a lorum for all 
nations, even though they differ from one another. The whole 
conception of One World, however distant that One World 
may be, involves an organization like the United Nations. 
To imagine that strict conformity to a single doctrine or 
approach can solve the problems of the world is to forget 
the lessons of history and to ignore the realities of today. 
However difficult the path, it has to be pursued by repeated 
attempts at co-operation on the part of all nations. Once that 
attempt is given up, the consequence can only be a prepara- 
tion for conflict on a world-wide scale and, ultimately, the 
conflict itself. 

Some people think that, in the circumstances of today, it 
is quite inevitable that the world should be divided up into 

Message broadcast by the United Nations Radio network from Lake Success, 
New York, May 5, 1950 



238 JAWAHARLAI, NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 

two hostile camps and that every country should line up on 
this side or that. Hostility, no doubt, exists but there are 
many countries who refuse to line up in this way. These 
countries believe that neither the pressure of world events 
nor their own destiny requires this lining up on either side 
and they, therefore, maintain their separate identity and 
view-point and thus serve the causes they have at heart. 

If any attempt is made to change the essential nature of 
the United Nations, it will not lead to another or a more 
powerful organization which can work for peace. It would 
only mean the break-up of something that is actually and 
potentially valuable with nothing to take its place. I think, 
therefore, that the proposal to exclude any independent 
country from the United Nations is unwise and harmful. 


FERMENT IN ASIA 

M r Chairman, Your Excellencies and delegates, the 
Governor and the Chief Minister of the State of Uttar 
Pradesh have welcomed you to the city of Lucknow. May I 
on behalf of the Government of India, also offer you a cordial 
welcome and tell you how privileged we consider ourselves 
that you should have chosen this city and this country for this 
great gathering? For about twelve or more years now, I have 
been connected, first rather distantly and then more inti- 
mately, with the work of the Institute of Pacific Relations. I 
have profited by reading your publications and have always 
felt that you were doing good work in trying to understand 
the problems of the Pacific or the Far East. For a long time 
I have felt that, as time goes on, the problems of the Far East 
will become more complicated and the centre of gravity of 
the tension, prevalent in the world today, will shift to the 
Far East and in particular to Asia. While people readily 
agree that Asia has, to a certain extent, become the focal 

Speech at the eleventh session of the Institute of Pacific Relations, Lucknow, 
October 3, 1950 



FERMENT IN ASIA 


2S9 


point of world tension, they relegate Asian problems to 
positions of relative insignificance and tend exclusively to 
emphasize the importance of European and other world 
problems. I agree that European problems are and have been 
very important but I have felt that, in the perspective of 
things to come, they were wrong in not devoting the requisite 
attention to the problems of developing Asia. Asia compels 
attention in many ways. There are a large number of back- 
ward countries in need of urgent economic development 
and others in which acute scarcity of vital commodities 
prevails. But what is most needed is an understanding that 
Asia is going through a process of change and that i* is in 
ferment. Some parts of Asia are quite and relatively peaceful 
whereas others are torn by external troubles and disturbances. 

I am not referring to the external situation so much as to 
characteristics inherent in the personality of Asia. I do not 
claim that this change is peculiar to Asia; perhaps, it is taking 
place all over the world. In Asia we have been kept down and 
are now trying to catch up with others who are ahead of us. 
We have been engrossed in things of the past and time has 
passed us by. We have not been able to keep pace with it and 
so we must run now. We cannot afford to walk but then when 
we run we also stumble and fall and try to get up again. We 
realize that speed, especially in an age-old continent like 
Asia, involves risks and dangers but we have no choice in 
the matter. If you seek to understand us, you can do so to a 
limited extent, if you discuss only our political, social and 
economic problems. You will have to look a little deeper and 
try to understand the torment in the spirit of Asia. This 
crisis of the spirit takes different forms in different countries. 
Ultimately, it is we who have to gain an insight into our 
problems with outside help if possible. Nobody can bear our 
burdens for us; we have to bear them ourselves. I hope that 
in your discussions you will give thought not only to our 
external problems but also to this crisis I have spoken of, 
which moves the minds of vast masses of people. If you 
asked me about my own country, it would be very difficult 
for me to answer briefly because I see so many forces at play. I 
am often asked: How has communism affected your country? 



240 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 

How do you deal with it? These are trivial questions and 
have perhaps a momentary importance. If you seek to under- 
stand a country by putting such trivial questions, then you are 
bound to get lost in its superficial aspects. One has to think 
of the problems which are fundamental to the life of a 
country, before one can presume to understand its people. 

Asia is a huge continent and the peoples of Asia are all 
different from one another, as they were reared in different 
cultures and traditions. In spite of all this, I think it is still 
true to say that there is such a thing as Asian sentiment. 

Perhaps, this sentiment is merely the outcome of the past 
two or three hundred years of European influence in Asia. 
Personally, I do not believe that any profound difference 
exists between the Orient and the Occident. Such differences 
as can be accounted for by history, tradition and geography 
exist even among the Asian countries and, in fact, even 
within the same country. Probably, the present-day 
differences mainly arose from the fact that certain parts of 
the world developed their resources and became prosperous 
while others were completely unaffected by the industrial 
revolution. 

I think that thinking in terms of the Orient and the 
Occident sets us on the wrong track. As a rule, the same 
type of problems lead to the same results everywhere. At the 
same time, there are certain countries like India and China 
with pronounced national characteristics where history and 
tradition exert a profound influence on the course of events. 
I am sure there is a great deal of good in this tradition. We 
should have gone under but for that. We have survived on 
account of the good in our tradition and we propose to hold 
on to it. At the same time, I have no doubt at all that it has a 
great deal that is bad, too. It prevents us from doing the things 
we ought to do and so, between the good and the bad and 
between the past and the present, we do not quite know what 
we are going to do and what we should do. 

If you ask me about India it would take me a long time 
to tell you about all the aspects of our problems. Our diffi- 
culties are not only external but also of the mind and spirit. 
There are certain tendencies that carry us forward and 



FERMENT IN ASIA 


241 


others that retard our forward movement — I will not call it 
progress — and compel us to look behind. 

Progress consists in having the essential things of life and 
in that sense we obviously must have progress. We are going 
ahead and I hope rapidly. We are harnessing science for the 
service of the natioh. Yet a doubt arises in my mind as to 
whether material progress really constitutes a remedy for 
our problems. It is, at best, only a partial solution; some- 
thing more is needed. We need a solution of the broad 
problems that afflict the world today. Many of these are 
probably evils that have resulted from an indiscriminate 
application of science which we have now begun to w orship. 
What are we aiming at and where are we heading for? 
I feel that unless we answer these questions, we are apt to go 
astray. You know that many of us in this country have spent 
a great part of our lives in trying, though imperfectly, to 
follow the lead of our great leader. We were poor stuff. 
Again and again, he gave us the strength and the vision to 
achieve our goal. For thirty years or more, we took shelter 
under his shadow and under his guidance. He preached non- 
violence and strangely enough, we followed him, to some 
extent, though we did not quite understand him. We felt 
the greatness of his presence and his personality and we 
followed him in certain things to the best of our ability. He 
preached non-violence and yet we see round us a world full 
of violence. Our own Government maintains an army, a 
navy and an air force and we are often constrained to have 
recourse to violence. The efficacy of non-violence is not 
entirely convincing. What are we to do about it all? None 
of us would dare, in the present state of the world, to do 
away with the instruments of organised violence. We keep 
armies both to defend ourselves against aggression from 
without and to meet trouble within. While I grant that we 
must keep armies, it is also true that the armed forces have 
not solved the problems for which violence is offered as a 
solution. 

Our Army, Navy and Air Force are not worth mention- 
ing compared with the armadas of other nations. But have 
these countries solved their problems with the help of their 



242 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


armed forces? I am of the opinion that they have not. We 
find that somehow the methods we adopt to deal with evil 
only result in more evil. What then are we to do? We have 
to meet the evil with armed force; yet in doing so we are 
ourselves corrupted by that evil. Eventually, we develop 
what may be called the military outlook. 

While there have been great soldiers and great men in 
the past, I do not think that the military outlook or the purely 
military method has yet solved any major problem of the 
world. That was why a great Frenchman once said that war 
was much too serious a thing to be entrusted to soldiers. But 
if it is too serious to be entrusted to the soldier, to entrust it 
to a civilian with a military outlook is worse. If a nation or a 
government develops a military outlook, then there is little 
hope for that nation. 

For the last three years or so we have been faced with a 
minor war in Korea which has in it the seeds of a mighty 
conflict. Almost every country wanted the war to be at least 
localized and ultimately brought to an end. Yet, the military 
mind wanted to go much further, believing that by going 
further it would solve other basic problems also. It failed to 
recognize the essential lesson of history, namely, that if you 
go too far you might topple over and create a fresh crop of 
problems. 

It is my misfortune that I have to deal with these 
problems in my capacity as a member of the Government. I 
have to advise my Government and sometimes venture to 
express an opinion to other Governments. Often enough I 
find that we are, fortunately, not in agreement with them. I 
sometimes presume to think that perhaps we in India or in 
Asia may conceivably have a better understanding of the inner 
problems of mind and spirit that trouble Asia and which 
will ultimately determine her actions. Economics plays an 
important and vital part in the lives of men but there are 
other forces which play an even more important part and it 
may be that we in Asia, whatever the country to which we 
belong, are in a somewhat better position to understand our 
neighbours in Asia than those nations who have an entirely 
different cultural heritage. In a spirit of arrogance I once 



FERMENT IN ASIA 


243 


ventured to say that many Western countries lacked subtlety 
of thought in understanding the East or in dealing with it; 
but how can one acquire that understanding? 

Are problems of nationalism in Asia different from those 
in Europe? If so, how are they different and what exactly 
do we mean by nationalism? It is difficult to define the con- 
cept of nationalism. In a country struggling against foreign 
domination one knows exactly what nationalism means. It 
is merely an anti-foreign feeling. But what is nationalism in a 
free country? Under certain conditions it can be a construc- 
tive force. Sometimes, we find that nationalism, a healthy 
force in a country striving for its freedom, may becomt , after 
the country has been liberated, unhealthy and even reac- 
tionary. It may seek to promote its interests at the expense of 
other countries and it may repeat the very errors against 
which it had to contend. But where shall we draw the line 
between what is good and what is bad in nationalism? We 
have just won our freedom but the nationalist sentiments 
that inspired our struggle still warm our hearts; they warm 
the heart of every Asian because the memories of past colonia- 
lism are still vivid in his mind. So, nationalism is still a live 
force in every part of Asia. A movement must define itself 
in terms of nationalism, if it has to become real to the people. 
In any Asian country, a movement will succeed or fail in the 
measure that it associates itself with the deep-seated urge 
of nationalism. If you go against it, whatever the merits of 
your remedy or your reform, they will not be appreciated. 
I am often asked by people from abroad as to what my reac- 
tion to communism is. The answer has of necessity to be 
complicated but they become annoyed that we do not see 
the great danger facing the world. We do see dangers, many 
of them, both within and without. For instance, when 
Indonesia was struggling for its freedom, it seemed monstrous 
to us that any country should support the cause of imperia- 
lism. Communism or no communism, we just could not 
understand the attitude which some of the countries adopted. 
Fortunately, in the end the right counsel prevailed and 
Indonesian nationalism found support in many quarters. 
No argument in any country in Asia is going to cany' weight 



244 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 

if it goes counter to national aspirations. After all, this is 
only understandable. 

I do not necessarily consider nationalism to be a 
commendable ideology. It may or may not be healthy. I wish 
to stress its importance only because in large parts of Asia 
today it is a factor which must be recognized. It will, perhaps, 
be good to remember that it is often based or intimately 
associated in people’s minds with the memory of colonialism 
in the past. Anything that revives this memory produces a 
strong reaction. 

I am aware that some of you here are experts on these 
subjects. I have, however, presumed to say something on this 
subject, because during my lifetime I have dabbled in many 
subjects, though I am not an expert in any of them. I have 
come in contact with vast masses of human beings here in 
this country and elsewhere, have tried to understand them 
and to influence them and in turn been influenced by them. 
I have also tried to understand people with diverse views. I 
could have, perhaps, understood them better if I had the 
great advantage of being as scholarly as many of you are. 

I have not the faintest idea what India will be like ten or 
twenty years hence. Speaking as the Prime Minister of India, 
I can tell you what I want it to be and I have some confidence 
in my ability to direct people along the right road but I 
cannot predict as to what the future of this country will be. 
I can do no more than do my job to the best of my ability 
and with as much energy as I possess. 

I have no doubt that your discussions will conduce to a 
better understanding among the nations of the world. You 
should also, I feel, inquire into the attitudes that make it 
difficult for people to approach problems dispassionately. 
Speaking of India, I can say that by modern standards, we 
are weak militarily, economically and in other ways, although 
our potential resources are vast. At the present moment I 
have not a shadow of fear for what may happen to the world. 
I think that, to some extent, my people share this attitude. 
I should like to tell you that we, under the guidance of a 
great leader, faced a mighty empire unarmed and apparently 
without any means of achieving our aims. We learnt from 



FERMENT IN ASIA 


245 


our leader not to be afraid of an opponent. If we are not 
overwhelmed by the fear that pervades large parts of the 
world, it is not for any lack of realization of the dangers with 
which we are all faced but because we have learnt how to 
face them during the last thirty years. Now, when nations 
have entered the realm of warfare and developed a military 
mind, they are prepared to take extreme steps but while 
fighting a war they lose sight of the objective. Perhaps, the 
last war lasted much longer than it should have. At least some 
people think that it might have ended earlier if the desire 
to fight it to the end had not existed. 

If you have the time and opportunity I would ad' ise you 
to read an ancient Sanskrit play, written in the fifth century. 
It is a political play and deals particularly with the nroblems 
of peace and war. The great Indian who was the hero of the 
play was a master not only of statecraft but also of war. 
He waged war, established a powerful empire and came to 
the conclusion that the real objective of war was not victory. 
Fighting a war was only the means of gaining an objective. 
If the objective itself is lost, then new problems arise at the 
end of the war. 

It must be admitted that in the world today wars have to 
be fought. Sometimes they are big wars; at others, they are 
not so big. But remember that they are bad and they must 
be stopped because they corrupt us and, by ever creating 
new problems, make our future even more uncertain. That, 
surely, is the lesson the last two great wars have taught us. 
Apparently, we have failed to learn it because people have 
already started to talk of a third world war. It is time we 
thought of that lesson. We must not rush into adventures 
which might lead us into the catastrophe of a third world war. 
Ultimately, of course, the question is one of our having 
enough wisdom to prevent wars. We have rich stores of 
knowledge and we have universities and all kinds of institu- 
tions for imparting this knowledge to others but sometimes 
one wonders whether wc are really growing in wisdom. 

I am reminded of what a great Greek poet said long ago: 
What else is Wisdom? What of man’s endeavour, 

Or God’s high grace, so lovely and so great? 

17—11 PFD/63 



246 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


To stand from fear set free, to breathe and wait; 
To hold a hand uplifted over Hate; 

And shall not Loveliness be loved for ever? 


PEACE OR WAR 

I have always welcomed a debate on foreign affairs in this 
House because they are no longer the concern merely of 
experts and specialists. Foreign affairs concern almost every 
human being now and an event in one part of the world 
may have consequences which affect people in another. 
Foreign affairs are the concern of this House, in particular, 
because on it rests the great responsibility for both domestic 
and international affairs. 

I further welcome this opportunity of discussing the inter- 
national situation because the world, as the House well knows, 
is passing through a very grave crisis. 

At this moment, it is especially desirable that the deepest 
understanding should exist between the Government and the 
country which this House represents, so that any policy we 
undertake has the fullest possible co-operation and support. I 
wish to say, however, that I am somewhat overwhelmed by a 
sense of responsibility on this occasion. I am also hesitant 
because it is difficult to talk of foreign" affairs without hurting 
an individual or a people or a country. I am convinced that 
if we start blaming one another at this moment, it will not 
only fail to serve any useful purpose but will actually stand 
in the way of our objectives. 

As it is, there has been enough of recrimination and, 
even if it was occasionally justified, it certainly did not help in 
easing the situation. Not only have we to deal with Govern- 
ments but also with mass psychology, with the inflamed 
passions of millions of people. Blame and censure do not 
help much when that is the position. Are we trying to find a 

Speech initiating debate on Foreign Affairs in Parliament, New Delhi, 
December 6, 1950 



PEACE OR WAR 


247 


peaceful way out of a terrible difficulty or only trying to 
justify the action that we have already taken? This is a ques- 
tion that sometimes bothers me. I think all of us, wherever we 
might be, have to bear in some measure the responsibility 
for the state the world is in today. Our most urgent need 
today is charity of thought and the touch of healing. Un- 
fortunately for all of us, the great healer under whose care 
we grew up is no more; and that is not only our misfortune 
but that of the whole world. 

A single phrase can sum up what is, today, the foremost 
issue in international afEairs — peace or war. The latter, if it 
comes, will be an overwhelming and all-enveloping war, a 
war which may well bring utter destruction to the world and 
which will probably ruin the proud structure of modern 
civilization. What we are discussing, therefore, is a matter of 
the greatest import and consequence. My altitude is one of 
earnestness and humility and I wish to say frankly that I have 
no easy remedy. All we can do is to grope in the dim twilight 
for something that will, perhaps, prevent the twilight 
from becoming dark night. It is difficult to say, whether 
or not we will succeed; but, in any event, it is our duty to 
try our utmost to avert a third world war. 

I am sure that people all over the world want peace and 
are anxious to avoid war. I am equally sure that every govern- 
ment wants to avoid war. And yet, we drift towards the very 
thing we seek to avoid. Fear and suspicion have us in their 
grip; every step that one party takes adds to the fear and 
suspicion of another and so catastrophe comes inevitably 
nearer as in a Greek tragedy. I do believe, however, that, if 
the peoples or rather the governments of the world try hard 
enough, this catastrophe can be avoided, although it becomes 
increasingly difficult to do so. 

When we discuss foreign affairs, many subjects concern- 
ing life here in this country come up for discussion. One of 
these — and it is of primary importance for us — is our relations 
with Pakistan. I do not propose to say much or indeed any- 
thing on that subject in this debate, partly because we have 
discussed it many times and I have given you such infor- 
mation as I have on several occasions. If and when any new 



248 


JAWAHARI.AI. NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-195S 


development takes place, I shall certainly take the House 
into my confidence. It is obvious that our relations with 
Pakistan, as those with any neighbouring country, are of 
extreme importance. 

Foreign possessions in India are another question which 
has agitated and excited this House in the past. They are 
small areas without much territorial or economic importance. 
Nevertheless, they raise big questions on which we have 
strong feelings. In regard to these foreign possessions, I think, 
we have set an extraordinary example of restraint. For more 
than three years, we have reasoned, we have argued and we 
have used peaceful methods all without any result. We know, 
of course, that ultimately there can be only one result. We 
cannot, conceive and, indeed, can never tolerate the idea that 
any foreign footholds should remain in India. I submit to the 
House that our manner of proceeding in regard to the foreign 
possessions is evidence not only of our peaceful intentions but 
also of the enormous patience with which we approach such 
problems. 

The question of Indians in South Africa was recently 
before the United Nations. It has once again raised issues that 
are vital not only for us but for the whole world. If I may say 
so. it is the issue of racialism that is of paramount importance. 
We are intimately concerned with the people of Indian origin 
who settled in South Africa and who have become South 
African citizens. We have nothing to do with them politically 
but we have cultural links. Since the issue of racialism involves 
the self-respect of India and the Indian people, indeed of all 
the peoples of Asia, it has assumed tremendous importance 
for us. You will observe the patience we have shown in this 
matter and keep in mind how we have argued patiently 
year after year, tried to make people understand and taken 
the question to the United Nations. You must also realize 
that we have tried our best to fulfil the directions issued by 
UNO in accordance with the resolutions passed by them. 
Now, another resolution has recently been passed. What this 
will lead to, I do not know but one thing is certain. Regard- 
less of how long it takes us to settle the issue, we shall not 
submit to racialism in any part of the world. 



PEACE OR WAR 


249 


I shall now come to the main theme of my address, which 
is the situation that has arisen in the Far East. The incursion 
from North Korea into South Korea was brought to the 
notice of the United Nations and was described by the 
Security Council as an act of aggression. We supported that 
decision and gave our vote accordingly. Subsequently, othei 
developments took place. There was the 'Six-Power Resolu- 
tion’ and the ‘Seven-Power Resolution’ but for a variety of 
reasons, which I think I have placed before the House from 
time to time, we could not support every step that was taken. 
Confused and distressed at the situation which was growing 
more and more difficult, I had the temerity to address an 
appeal to Marshal Stalin on the one hand and to Mr Acheson 
on the other. It was not an attempt at mediation, foi we have 
never thought in those terms. I made the appeal in the vague 
hope that, perhaps, it might result in something positive. 
The former contained the suggestion that China might be 
admitted to the United Nations and that the U.S.S.R. might 
also return to the Security Council. The fact that we had 
recognized the People’s Government of China naturally 
implied that, so far as we were concerned, China should be 
a part of the United Nations. In the context in which 1 
suggested it to Marshal Stalin and Mr Acheson, however, 
the emphasis was on its urgency rather than on the rights and 
wrongs of the matter. We further believed that the situation 
in the Far East could only be dealt with satisfactorily if the 
principal parties concerned agreed to sit round a conference 
table. 

The United Nations is a great and powerful organization 
and it has a Charter that lays down its ideals and objectives 
in language so impressive that it can hardly be bettered. 
The United Nations was founded for the great nations as 
well as the small. We thought it was necessary that the 
representatives of the great countries most concerned with 
the crisis in Korea should be able to meet at the United 
Nations. Without such a step there was every danger that the 
position would worsen, as, indeed, it has done. It was with 
this point of view that I made the appeal to Russia and to 
the United States of America. It was unfortunate that it 



250 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 

did not have any fruitful results. 

Subsequently, the aggression by North Korea was checked 
and the North Korean armies pushed back till they seemed to 
be completely broken. The forces of the United Nations 
appeared to have won total victory, as, indeed, they had. 
This victory, inevitably, gave rise # to certain fundamental 
questions. Should the forces of the United Nations continue 
to advance? If so, how far they should go? We consulted 
our Ambassador in Peking and our representatives in other 
countries about how the various Governments were viewing 
the scene. We had, perhaps, a rather special responsibility 
in regard to China, because we were one of the very few 
countries represented there. Furthermore, we were the only 
country, besides the countries of the Soviet group, which was 
in a position to find out through its Ambassador what the 
reactions of the Chinese Government to the developing 
events were. Since we were anxious that the other countries, 
with whom we were co-operating should know these views, 
we sent them on to the Governments of the United Kingdom 
and the United States. 

The Chinese Government clearly indicated that if the 
38th Parallel was crossed, they would consider it a grave 
danger to their own security and that they would not tolerate 
it. Whether their view was right or wrong is not the point. 
However, it was decided that the forces of the United Nations 
should advance beyond the 38th Parallel. They did so and 
came into conflict with re-organized North Korean troops 
and, at a later stage, with the Chinese forces. The Chinese 
Government described the latter as volunteers but, accord- 
ing to information received, they were regular Chinese troops. 
The distinction is not very important; it has little bearing 
because a large number of these volunteers or Chinese soldiers 
—call them what you will — did come across the Manchurian 
border into North Korea and threaten the UN troops to such 
an extent that the latter are in grave danger at the moment 
and are withdrawing. 

It will not do us much good to think of what might have 
been done or to dwell on the errors committed in the political 
held or in other fields. The situation we have to face is chang- 



PEACE OR WAR 


291 


ing so rapidly that it is very difficult to suggest any measures 
for its improvement. I realize that the suggestions I had in 
mind four, five or six days ago are out of date today. They 
do not fit in with the circumstances and alternatives have to 
be thought of. We did, as a matter of fact, convey our views 
to the Governments of the United Kingdom, the United 
States of America as well as to some Governments in Asia. 
Some of these Governments have been good enough to tell 
us what they have in mind and what they propose to do. 
But, as I said, the situation is changing very rapidly, indeed. 
A step we envisage today will probably become obsolete and 
impracticable the next day. 

We realize that it will be very harmful if this matter is 
considered in the United Nations at a purely formal level and 
if resolutions of condemnation arc passed. The H mse will 
remember that one of the first things suggested by the Chinese 
delegation was that a resolution of condemnation be passed 
against the United Nations or the U.S.A. On the other hand, 
resolutions condemning China and calling her an aggressor 
have also been repeatedly suggested. 

The point is that we are on the very verge of a world war 
and obviously, it does not help in the slightest to call each 
other names. If we want a war to come sooner rather than 
later and if the present situation is merely a manoeuvre to 
provide political justification for military action, then, of 
course, no more need be said; but if we seek to avoid war, 
then we must avoid the kind of approach that creates bitter- 
ness. The only possible way is that of peaceful negotiation. 
The negotiations may fail but there is no other way except 
war. It was clear to us that no negotiation would have any 
value unless China was associated with it. China, apart from 
being a great Power, is most intimately concerned with the 
events happening next door to her. We suggested that there 
should be a cease-fire and, if possible, a demilitarized zone 
where negotiations among the parties concerned, including 
China, could take place — negotiations, not merely about 
what should follow the cease-fire but about the entire Korean 
problem as well. It had also seemed essential to us that, at 
a later stage in the negotiations, the questions of Formosa 



852 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1955 


should also be considered. Without that, no peace could 
last. One cannot carry on negotiations unless the fighting 
stops. Therefore, a cease-fire appears desirable; whether it is 
possible or not, is another matter. 

We welcomed the decision of the Prime Minister of 
England to go to the United States, to meet President 
Truman and wished him God speed in his endeavours to 
prevent war and to find a peaceful way out of this tangle. 
We found that there was a good deal in common between 
the British Prime Minister’s view of the present situation and 
ours. We let him have our own viewpoint in detail in case 
he needed it during the discussions with President Truman. 
We also informed other Governments in Asia who were 
friendly to us as to what we feel about the Korean situation. 

During the last few months, a great deal has happened in 
Korea. Everybody talks of the freedom, the unity and 
independence of Korea. The forces that are fighting the 
United Nations say more or less the same thing but the result 
of this unanimity of approach, if I may say so, is this: Korea 
is a dying and desolate country. Only this morning I have 
had a letter from a Korean lady in Seoul who has lived 
through the horror that has prevailed these many months. 
In her letter, which I would like to read out to you, there is 
a phrase: “my country is sick and dying of cold, disease and 
starvation”. 

It is extraordinary that we should seek to help our friends 
in ways which kill or destroy them. It is, indeed, a strange 
commentary on the way of violence which we are somehow 
forced to adopt in the present world. This commentary will be 
complete when the third world war comes and we all sink 
into ruin and oblivion. It is about time we changed our 
attitude to the problems of the world. I wish we did not over- 
whelm ourselves with passion and anger at the critical time; 
we should, instead, look to our own actions and learn ag ain 
the ancient lesson that wrong doing cannot be counteracted 
by further wrong doing; nor can violence be ultimately 
conquered by violence. I know how easy it is to talk in terms 
of pious platitudes but we must make every effort to benefit 
from what is true in them. 



PEACE OR WAR 


253 


There is another bitter truth we have to understand and 
realize today. In the fighting in Korea, the main burden of the 
United Nations has fallen on the forces of the United States. 
They have suffered greatly and I think our sympathy should go 
out to them. We have, as I have pointed out, adopted a definite 
attitude to North Korea and, although we did not support all 
the resolutions of the United Nations or the Security Council, 
our attitude to the aggression has remained basically the same. 
We did not support the Six-Power and the Seven-Power 
Resolutions because we felt that they would not help in 
solving the problem. On the contrary, we believed that they 
would only increase the tension and further inflame the 
passions of both the States. For the same reason, we did not 
join the Seven-Power Commission set up in accordance with 
one of these resolutions. Not that we wished to shirk our 
responsibility or duty; but we felt we could only discharge 
our duty and responsibility adequately if our approach oi 
mood, if I may say so, was not merely one of condemnation. 

I want you to realize that what happens in Korea is of 
the utmost significance to the Chinese people also. One 
cannot ignore that fact, unless one is prepared to ignore 
completely China and the Chinese people — and the latter 
are not a mere handful. We have always been of the opinion 
that the problem of Korea can only be solved with China’s 
co-operation. Whatever the result of the Korean conflict 
might be in the military Sense, the problem cannot be finally 
solved without the acquiescence, if not the active co-operation, 
of China. We laid stress on this fact right at the beginning. 
That was one of the reasons why we felt that China should 
be represented at the United Nations; and the issue at stake 
was an urgent one. 

The military situation in Korea has again undergone a 
considerable change and I just cannot make a profitable 
suggestion as to what should be done now. I can only hope 
that the negotiations between President Truman and Prime 
Minister Attlee will bear fruit and lead to some peaceful way 
out of this predicament. In any case, I cannot conceive of 
a peaceful solution in the Far East, unless the great country 
of China is taken into account. 



254 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 19491955 


I mentioned Formosa earlier. Formosa is not what might 
be called an immediate issue but it is tied up with the other 
problems of the Far East and has to be considered urgently 
on that score. You will remember that some of the great 
Powers made declarations concerning Formosa in Cairo 
and Potsdam. President Truman made a very forthright 
declaration earlier this year. I feel that we must proceed on 
the basis of these declarations. What exactly our manner of 
proceeding should be is a matter for careful consideration. 

I would like to say one more thing. There has been a 
good deal of talk about the atomic bomb. I need hardly say 
much about it. I am sure no one in this House approves of 
the idea of using the atomic bomb anywhere at any time and 
much less so in the particular context of the war in the Far 
East. In the morning newspapers today, there was a statement 
by Mr Pearson, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of 
Canada, in which he spoke of the atomic bomb. I cannot say 
anything more forceful than what Mr Pearson has said in the 
matter. He has pointed out the grave dangers of using it, 
particularly in Asia. Apart from the horrors that are inherent 
in it, it has become a symbol of evil. If the stress of circum- 
stances compels the world to use it, it means that the latter has 
yielded completely to evil. Therefore, 1 earnestly hope that 
there will be no question now or hereafter of the use of the 
atom bomb. 

I should like to say a few words about two other 
neighbouring countries — Tibet and Nepal. Some questions 
were asked earlier this morning in regard to the advance of 
the Chinese forces inLo Tibet. I could not give much informa- 
tion then; nor can 1 do so now. The story of Tibet, so far as 
we are concerned, is very simple. I am going into past history. 
Ever since the People’s Government of China talked about 
the liberation of Tibet, our Ambassador told them, on behalf 
of the Government of India, how the latter felt about it. 
We expressed our earnest hope that the matter would be 
settled peacefully by China and Tibet. We also made it clear 
that we had no territorial or political ambitions in regard to 
Tibet and that our relations were cultural and commercial. 
We said that we would naturally like to preserve these 



PEACE OR WAR 


255 


relations and continue to trade with Tibet because it did 
not come in the way of either China or Tibet. We further 
said that we were anxious that Tibet should maintain the 
autonomy it has had for at least the last forty years. We 
did not challenge or deny the suzerainty of China over Tibet. 
We pointed all this out in a friendly way to the Chinese 
Government. In their replies, they always said that they 
would very much like to settle the question peacefully but diat 
they were, in any event, going to liberate Tibet. From whom 
they were going to liberate Tibet is, however, not quite clear. 
They gave us to understand that a peaceful solution would 
be found, though I must say that they gave us no assurance 
or guarantee to the effect. On the one hand, they said they 
were prepared for a peaceful solution; on the othe*, they 
talked persistently of liberation. 

We had come to believe that the matter would be settled 
by peaceful negotiation and were shocked when we heard 
that the Chinese armies were marching into Tibet. Indeed, 
one can hardly talk about war between China and Tibet. 
Tibet is not in a position to carry on war and, obviously, 
Tibet is no threat to China. It is said that other countries 
might intrigue in Tibet. I cannot say much about it because 
I do not know. It is certain, however, that there was no 
immediate threat. Violence might, perhaps, be justified in 
the modern world but one should not resort to it unless there 
is no other way. There was another way iri Tibet as we pointed 
out. That is why the action of China came to us as a surprise. 

The House is aware of the correspondence that was 
exchanged between the Chinese Government and our 
Government. We have continued to press upon them that 
it would be desirable for them to halt their advances and 
settle matters with Tibetan representatives peacefully. There 
is no doubt that during the last few weeks they have checked 
their main advance. However, I cannot say for certain what 
their future intentions are. Some small groups may have 
continued to advance in some places but so far as we know 
there has been no advance towards Lhasa, where conditions 
are still normal. That, of course, does not mean that the 
problem is solved. 



256 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-195S 

Coming to Nepal, I must say that it has been the scene of 
strange developments during the last fortnight. Ever since I 
have been associated with this Government, 1 have taken 
a great deal of interest in Nepal. We have desired, not only to 
continue our old friendship with that country but to put it 
on a still firmer footing. We have- inherited both good things 
and bad from the British. Our relations with some of our 
neighbouring countries developed during an expansive phase 
of British imperial policy. Nepal was an independent country 
when India was under British rule; but, strictly speaking, 
her independence was only formal: The test of the 
independence of a country is that it should be able to have 
relations with other countries without endangering that 
independence. Nepal’s foreign relations were strictly limited 
to her relations with the Government functioning in India 
at the time. That was an indication that Nepal’s approach 
to international relations was a very limited one. 

When we came into the picture, we assured Nepal that 
we would not only respect her independence but see, as far 
as we could, that she developed into a strong and progressive 
country. We went further in this respect than the British 
Government had done and Nepal began to develop other 
foreign relations. We welcomed this and did not hinder the 
process as the British had done. Frankly, we do not like 
and shall not brook any foreign interference in Nepal. We 
recognize Nepal as an independent country and wish her 
well. But even a child knows that one cannot go to Nepal 
without passing through India. Therefore, no other country 
can have as intimate a relationship with Nepal as ours is. 
We would like ever) other country to appreciate the intimate 
geographical and cultural relationship that exists between 
India and Nepal. 

Three years ago, we assured Nepal of our desire that she 
should be a strong, independent and progressive country. 
In the nature of things, we stood not only for progressive 
democracy in our own country but also in other countries. 
We have said this not only to Nepal but it has consistently 
been a part of our policy in distant quarters of the world. 
We are certainly not going to forget this when one of our 



PEACE OR WAR 


257 


neighbouring countries is concerned. 

We pointed out in as friendly a way as possible that the 
world was changing rapidly and if Nepal did not make an 
effort to keep pace with it, circumstances were bound to 
force her to do so. It was difficult for us to make this clear 
because we did not wish to interfere with Nepal in any way. 

We wished to treat Nepal as an independent country but, 
at the same time, saw that, unless some steps were taken in 
the internal sphere, difficulties might arise. Our advice, 
given in all friendship, did not, however, produce any result. 
During the last fortnight, some new developments have 
taken place in Nepal. Our interest in the internal conditions 
of Nepal has become still more acute and personal, because 
of the developments across our borders, to be frank, especially 
those in China and Tibet. Besides our sympathetic interest 
in Nepal, we were also interested in the security of our own 
country. From time immemorial, the Himalayas have provid- 
ed us with a magnificent frontier. Of course, they are no 
longer as impassable as they used to be but are still fairly 
effective. We cannot allow that barrier to be penetrated 
because it is also the principal barrier to India. Therefore, 
much as we appreciate the independence of Nepal, we 
cannot allow anything to go wrong in Nepal or permit that 
barrier to be crossed or weakened, because that would be a 
risk to our own security. The recent developments have 
made us ponder more deeply over the Nepal situation than 
we had done previously. All this time, however, we had 
functioned in our own patient way, advising in a friendly 
way and pointing out the difficulties inherent in the situa- 
tion in a spirit of co-operation. 

As the House knows, the King of Nepal is, at the present 
moment, in Delhi along with two other members of the 
Nepalese Government. The talks we have had with them have 
yielded no results thus far. May I, in this connection, warn this 
House not to rely too much on the statements that appear in 
the newspapers? Nowadays, they have seldom any basis in fact. 

Needless to say, we pointed out to the Ministers who 
have come here that, above all, we desire a strong progressive 
and independent Nepal. In fact, our chief need — not only 



258 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


our need but also that of the whole world — is peace and 
stability. Having said that, I should also like to add that we 
are convinced that return to the old order will not bring 
peace and stability to Nepal. 

We have tried, for what it is worth, to advise Nepal to act 
in a manner so as to prevent any major upheaval. We have 
tried to find a way, a middle way, if you like, which will 
ensure the progress of Nepal and the introduction of, or some 
advance in, the ways of democracy in Nepal. We have 
searched for a way which would, at the same time, avoid 
the total uprooting of the ancient order. Whether or not it 
is possible to find such a way, I do not know. 

I would like to say one more thing in regard to the King 
of Nepal. There has also been a good deal in the newspapers 
about our recognition of the King of Nepal. When our 
Ambassador to Nepal presented his credentials, he did so to 
the King, although during the last hundred years or so the 
King has had no say in any matter. Nevertheless, because of 
international conventions our Ambassador had to go to the 
King as the head of the State as did the Ambassadors of 
other countries. The fact that Nepal has now entered into 
diplomatic relations with many other nations has raised 
questions about his status in each case. To say that we recog- 
nize the King, as such, has no meaning. We went to the King 
because he was considered to be the official head of the State. 

We shall continue to recognize the King and I see no 
reason why we should do anything else. 

We are a patient Government. Perhaps, we are too 
patient sometimes. I feel, however, that if this matter drags on 
it will not be good for Nepal and it might even make it more 
difficult to find the middle way we have been advocating. 

We, in this country, speak a good deal of foreign affairs 
and offer advice, for what it is worth, to other countries. But 
the fact remains that such value as our advice may have is 
only moral or psychological. The fate of the world depends 
far more on the great Powers, on what they do and do not do. 
The fate of the world depends more on the U.S.A., the 
United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and China than on the 
rest of the world put together. I should like to make an 



THE GROWTH OF VIOLENCE 


259 


earnest appeal to these great countries to make every effort 
to solve the present tangle by negotiations or other peaceful 
means. The consequences of not doing so are too terrible to 
contemplate. The irony of the situation is, in fact, that people 
in every country desire peace; but at the present moment, 
some evil fate seems to pursue humanity. It is driving 
mankind in a direction which can only end in stark ruin. So, I 
hope that these great countries will apply themselves to 
securing peace and I am sure the House will join me in this 
appeal. On behalf of my Government and, if I may say so, 
this House, I should like to make a pledge, namely, that we 
will do everything in our power to promote peace :nd to 
avoid war. 


THE GROWTH OF VIOLENCE 

T his two days’ debate has ended in a somewhat unusual 
manner and for the moment such thoughts as I have are 
rather diffused. I have listened with great attention to what 
hon. Members have said during these two days and I am 
thankful to some of them who had words of commendation 
for me. I am still more thankful to those who had words of 
criticism against me or against the policy we have pursued. 
The debate has covered many subjects and the expression of 
opinion has varied greatly. As the House will sec there was 
at one end Mr M. R. Masani and at the other end Mr 
Brijeshwar Prasad while the others ranged between these 
two extremes. 

I don’t quite know whether I should deal with all the 
points that have been raised. I think it might be better if I 
chose some of the most important of them and dealt with these. 
We have been discussing grave matters and though hilarity is 
sometimes in place, it is not suitable at others. The subject 
we have discussed is of he greatest importance During the 
discussion we have been oppressed by a sense of tragedy and 

Speech in reply to debate on Foreign Affairs in Parliament. New Delhi. 
December 7, 1950 



JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1 949-1 95S 


possible catastrophe. As I sat listening to the speeches of hon. 
Members, many pictures floated before my mind; pictures of 
the Korean battlefields, of marching armies and dying 
people, of statesmen holding earnest converse in a room in 
Washington to find a way out of the present predicament and 
countless other pictures. 

There is hardly anybody concerned with foreign affairs 
who is not carrying a heavy burden and not trying to grope 
for solution of our problems. I use the word ‘grope’, 
because darkness surrounds us. Some hon. Members are full 
of light — they have no need to grope. They know exactly 
what should be done at any given moment. I envy them for 
this feeling of lightness and confidence. Mr M. R. Masani 
said in the course of his speech that it would be a great 
tragedy if Mr Truman and Mr Attlee decided to appease 
China. It is a pity Mr Masani is not at the White House in 
Washington to advise them. 

Many hon. Members have repeatedly referred to our 
policy as being unrealistic; there have been hints that we are 
sitting on the fence and that we are doubtful and uncertain. 
It seems to me that the people who pride themselves on being 
practical politicians normally know nothing of the existing 
state of affairs or of the questions they will be called upon to 
answer. It is easy enough to say that our policy is not realistic. 
It is also easy to say that we are uncertain and inconsistent. 
Anyway, it is not for me to boast of the policy of a govern- 
ment with which I have been associated. 

Our foreign policy, naturally, has to do with world affairs 
but if any hon. Member thinks that the Government of 
India moulds world affairs he is very much mistaken. I do not 
say that we cannot or have not affected the world to some 
extent. But obviously, we affect or influence it in a very 
small measure. If the world goes wrong, then it may, of course, 
be due to some error of ours but surely it would be the 
resultant of a large number of policies, in particular the 
policies of the powerful and influencial countries that 
dominate the policies of the smaller and weaker countries. 

Some hon. Members seem to think that because the 
policies of other countries have failed, our policy must have 



THE GROWTH OF VIOLENCE 


861 


been wrong. I have little to say to that but I would beg of the 
hon. Members to look at the history of the past live years. 
Since the last world war ended, the policies that have been 
pursued by various countries have failed more often than not. 
We have had little to do with these policies. We have ex- 
pressed an opinion at best. Sometimes we have played a 
passive'* role, sometimes, a small active role. But there are 
moments when even a small thing can make all the difference. 

Before I deal with the larger questions, I should like to 
take up some matters that were brought up as interpellations. 
Many hon. Members seem anxious that we should not weaken 
our defence. Indeed, they talked of re-armament and of 
increasing the strength of our Army, Navy and Air Force. 
They were afraid that we might neglect them. 

I should like to say something about this and the first 
thing is that no government in this country can possibly treat 
the question of defence lightly or allow it to weaken at any 
time. Every government must give priority to the defence of 
the country. But what is defence? Most people seem to 
imagine that defence consists in large numbers of people 
marching up and down with guns. It is true that armed men 
and machines constitute defence. Defence means many other 
things, too. It includes the industrial potential of a country, 
the morale of a country and the like. All this has to balance 
with the capacity and resources of the country and you 
cannot upset this balance very much. You cannot over- 
strain the capacity and the resources of a country without 
dire consequences. What you can do to strengthen your 
defences further, without upsetting anything, is to better your 
morale and be determined not to surrender, whatever the 
danger. If you do that, nothing can conquer you. But on the 
contrary, if you rely too much on men with guns and lose 
your moral fibre, then you are done for. 

Therefore, when you talk of defence, remember your 
resources; remember your capacity; and remember that 
defence consists of the economic position of a country, of the 
industrial potential of a country and of the defence forces. 
Of course, it is possible to change the equation a little but 
these are, broadly speaking, the limitations you have to work 
u— 11 Drafts 



262 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-195S 


within. Any defence force that cannot, more or less, provide 
its own equipment, is not independent. There is no harm in 
this, except in a crisis when the things for which the armed 
forces depend on others are not available. 

In other words, the real strength of a country lies in her 
industrial resources. The strength of the defence forces and 
everything connected with them depends on the develop- 
ment of these resources. If not, then defence is just a superficial 
thing which can be kept up by borrowing money but has no 
basic strength. In these times of financial stringency we have 
to consider whether twenty thousand odd men with guns are 
more to our advantage than something more efficient. 

It is true that no government dare take chances with the 
defence of the country. But I would beg the hon. Members 
who talk so much of defence and of danger to the country to 
consider the question in another light. When there is danger, 
how will you fight, with the best army in the world, if you 
cannot feed it? Thus, defence becomes a food problem also. 
It is not only a matter for guns. A hungry army cannot fight. 
Hungry people behind an army are bad material. It is difficult 
to fight both on the home front and on the battle front. The 
food problem, therefore, comes first of all, whatever the issue. 
The problem of industrial development and growth becomes 
equally important in order to build up the resources necessary 
for defence. All these necessities are linked and not one item 
can be considered in isolation. We cannot afford to con- 
centrate on defence at the cost of everything else. If we do 
that then our defence will also fall through because there will 
be no foundation for it. 

The food problem has been discussed often enough in 
this House. So have the sugar problem and the controls; 
and the discussions have caused a great deal of excitement. 
I regret that the sense of urgency that ought to exist in this 
House and in the country is not there. We talk so much 
about controls but if there is shortage of sugar, there are 
protests all over the country. If that is our attitude, how 
can we talk of defence? A country that cannot put up with 
a few controls, a country that cannot do without sugar, 
cannot face the enemy at a critical moment. We in India 



THE GROWTH OF VIOLENCE 


263 


live in times of grave crisis and in such times people have to 
give up everything that they hold dear — sometimes even 
their families. 

If you cannot give up your sugar, your wheat or vour rice 
for a while, then the biggest army will not be able to 
protect you, because you lack inner strength. Of course, we 
must have the best army. It is no good maintaining a second- 
rate or a weak army. But we cannot do this at the cost of our 
people. We must, at the same time, be able to feed them and 
also not let the economic position or the industrial growth 
of the country suffer. We have to achieve a balance and try 
to advance as rapidly as we can. That does not ultimately 
depend on Government decrees. It may to some extent 
depend on law. What it really depends on is the rer tion of 
the public and the House to these questions. 

In the context of the present world situation, food is the 
most urgent and important need in this country today. We 
must grow it, save it and not waste it but preserve it at all 
costs. 

Having achieved independence, we in this country seem 
to have grown somewhat lax in our thought and deed during 
the last few years. But I do not think we have lost the moral 
fibre that brought us our independence. We did not weaken 
or succumb when we were struggling for our freedom and I 
doubt if we will now. Even if we do not have a single gun, 
we are determined to fight to the end. We shall not surrender 
to any aggressor whatsoever. I do not wish to indulge in tall 
talk; and after a while this kind of thing docs become tall 
talk. We must plan and think carefully and realize the 
difficulties of the situation. 

Listening to the speeches of other hon. Members, I felt 
that some of them talked in what I consider a most unrealistic 
fashion. They talked at length of power blocs and argued 
whether there were two blocs or only one. Mr Masani felt 
that there was only one bloc. If there is only one bloc, the 
matter ends there; the question of our joining one or the 
other does not arise. 

I should like to remind the House with all respect that 
these questions and arguments are completely out of date 



264 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


They do not count today. The world marches rapidly and 
changes, new situations develop and we have to deal with 
each situation as it comes. For a person to think in terms of 
blocs today means that he is yesterday’s man and that he is 
not keeping pace with the changes in the world. 

We have to deal with matters as they come up. In matters 
of foreign policy especially, one has to decide almost every 
hour what has to be done. We had this debate in the House, 
because new situations have arisen and new dangers threaten 
the world. We wanted the counsel of the House as to what 
our line of action should be. We also wanted to make clear 
what policy, generally speaking, we were pursuing. 

I fear that we in this country, somehow or other, don’t 
keep pace with events. We read about them in the news- 
papers but we have fallen into fixed habits of thinking which 
we do not overcome, however much the world changes. It 
is no good telling me that you dislike Russia or China or 
that you dislike the United States of America or the United 
Kingdom. We have to deal with a situation that actually 
exists. Facts are facts and will not disappear on account of 
your likes or dislikes. 

Military changes have taken place in Korea. All kinds of 
dangerous things are happening. You cannot meet that 
situation by simply expressing your strong disapproval of the 
changes. What would you do if you were in a responsible 
position and were called upon to act? Deliver a speech 
telling people what you like and dislike and which bloc 
you belong to? That won’t help anybody in the slightest. 

It is in a spirit of realism that I want you to approach 
the question of our foreign policy. I am sure it is in the same 
spirit that President Truman and Mr Attlee are meeting in 
Washington and conferring together. They have to deal with 
a positive situation, they have to issue orders and they have to 
decide what is to be done or not done. They cannot afford 
to talk of vague theoretical things and waste their time with 
"idealistic” or “moral” approaches to the situation. 

I hope there is nothing immoral about the part I have 
played in our foreign policy. In any case, I want no morali- 
zing, especially about this. As it is, there is far too much 



THE GROWTH OF VIOLENCE 


265 


moralizing in the country. People think that if they have 
used a few moral words or slogans they have discharged their 
duty. We should use our good sense as much as possible. 
Idealism alone will not do. What exactly is idealism? Surely 
it is not something so insubstantial as to elude one’s grasp! 
Idealism is the realism of tomorrow. It is the capacity to 
know what is good for the day after tomorrow or for the next 
year and to fashion yourself accordingly. The practical 
person, the realist, looks at the tip of his nose and sees little 
beyond; the result is that he is stumbling all the time. 

I should like the Members of this House to consider the 
last five or six years of diplomatic history. In spite of every 
effort, the world has repeatedly failed to achieve harmony. 
The astonishing thing is that failure does not teach us a 
lesson and we make the same mistakes over again. This is 
really extraordinary. I should have thought that the lesson 
of the two great world wars was obvious enough to anybody 
willing to give thought to it. Apparently, it is not at all 
obvious because the same path is still followed. 

It may be that the crisis today is due to the fault of a 
nation or a group of nations. It may be Russia’s fault or the 
fault of the communist group of nations. What do we do 
when a group of nations functions in an objectionable way? 

People talk a great deal about communism and as an hon. 
Member pointed out, some Members thought that we had 
turned this discussion into an anti-communist conference. 
Communism is certainly an interesting subject and one that 
is worthy of discussion but it does not have much bearing on 
the issue. I am sure that those who think only in terms of 
communism and anti-communism are going hopelessly astray 
and will never reach any goal. The difficulty is that much of 
the thinking — not so much here as elsewhere — revolves round 
these words. 

The House knows very well what the policy of the Gov- 
ernment of India has been in regard to communist activities 
in this country. It has not been a tender policy and it is not 
going to be a tender policy. We must look at the world as it 
is and recognize that mighty forces are at work and millions 
of people have come under their influence. We must try to 



206 JAWAHAR1.AI, NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 

understand them and try as far as we can to divert them into 
right channels and prevent them from going into wrong ones. 
That is our problem. Some hon. Members seem to think 
that I should issue an ultimatum to China, that I should 
warn them not to do this or that or that I should send them a 
letter saying that it is foolish to follow the doctrine of 
communism. I do not see how it is going to help anybody if 
I act in this way. Remember, the world has many countries. 
Some of them arc called Great Powers by virtue of their 
influence. They arc nations with great resources behind 
them and inevitably play a significant part in the world’s 
history today. 

The United States of America is a great democratic 
Power. The United Kingdom and the U.S.S.R., even though 
their policies differ, greatly influence the world’s history and 
no one can deny China the status of a Great Power today. 
China is in a position to shape her own destiny and that is a 
great thing. It is true that she is controlled by communists 
as Russia is. It would be interesting to know whether or not 
her type of communism is the same as Russia’s, how she will 
develop and how close the association between China and 
Russia will be. 

The point at issue is that China is a great nation which 
cannot be ignored, no matter what resolution you may pass. 
Nor can you ignore the United States of America. Some 
people talk of American imperialism and American dollars 
in a hostile fashion. You cannot condemn or ignore the 
whole nation just because )ou do not approve of some aspect 
of the myriad shapes of American life. We have to take facts 
as they are. The most relevant fact at the moment is that 
there are some great nations in this world with concentrated 
power in their hands that influence all the other nations. 
That being so, there is a conflict between these powerful 
nations — an ideological conflict as well as a political conflict. 
Either these nations will have a war and try to suppress or 
defeat one another or one group will triumph over the other. 
There seems to be no other way. Although there is a great 
deal of talk about ideologies, I doubt if they come into the 
picture at all except as weapons. 



THE GROWTH OI VIOLENCE 


267 


The only way seems to be the avoidance of war. All 
nations must be free to develop as they like without any 
external interference. This does not mean that they will not 
influence one another in a variety of ways. It is possible that 
the existing contradictions may gradually be solved in that 
manner. On the other hand, they may not. I am not a pro- 
phet; I do not know. In any case, the way of war does not 
solve them. The concentration of power in the hands of these 
great nations and the fact that the power is not too unevenly 
matched, means a very disastrous war. It also means no 
ultimate victory. There may be a military victory; but there 
will be no real victory, if by victory you mean the ;» hieve- 
ment of certain objectives. 

I doubt if, after the terrible disaster of a world war, 
democracy can survive. The democratic nations may win 
the war — mind you, I have little doubt that they will — but 
I doubt if after the disaster of a world war democracy can 
survive at all. I even doubt whether any high standards of 
living can survive. I have no doubt that the great nations 
wish to avoid war because they are aw’are of its consequences. 
No one can assert that America wants war. I cannot imagine 
anything more unlikely. If America wanted war, who could 
have stopped her? She obviously does not. She wants to 
avoid war because she is aware of the great disasters a world 
war will cause. England also wants to avoid war. In spite of 
this, forces are impelling these nations in a direction which 
may lead to war. The biggest task today is to prevent that 
and that is the task for England, for America, for us and for 
all other countries. 

I do not know what people mean when they talk of this 
or that group; nor do I understand them when they accuse 
our Government of sitting on the fence in matters of foreign 
policy. People who talk like that know nothing of what they 
are talking about and do not study or read or understand 
what is happening around them. I have repeatedly said in 
this House that I have no desire to get entangled in foreign 
affairs. That is not my ambition. My work in this country is 
big enough and difficult enough. But in spite of our policy, 
we sometimes cannot help getting entangled in foreign affairs. 



268 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-195S 


I suppose some Hon. Members think that taking part in 
foreign affairs means delivering impassioned orations, con- 
demning something or other. It is true that we have not done 
that; nor do we propose to do that in the future. The way 
we participate in world affairs is to take part daily and hourly 
in the deliberations at the United Nations, at Lake Success 
and in the various capitals of the world. I should like to say 
that we have been served very well by our representatives in 
the important capitals of the world. They are often criticized 
but it is difficult for them to reply to that criticism; nor 
is it easy for me to talk about our Ambassadors. But I want 
to say clearly that we have been served very well by our 
Ambassadors at Lake Success, in Washington, in London, in 
Peking and in Moscow. 

You might have read in the newspapers about the initia- 
tive that our representatives at Lake Success took in common 
with a- large number of other Asian representatives and put 
up a proposal that the Chinese Government be asked to agree 
to a cease-fire and to give assurances that they would not go 
beyond 38th Parallel. We talked about the 38th Parallel in 
another connection some time ago. The roles are reversed 
for the moment and they may be reversed again. It is not 
realistic to talk as if nothing had happened. Our represen- 
tative, Sri B. N. Rau, made this proposal and the 
representatives of almost every Asian country agreed to 
support it. I do not know what the reaction of the Chinese 
Government will be but I welcome -the initiative of our 
representatives and I am quite sure that every peace-lov in g 
individual, whatever he may be, will welcome it and that the 
Governments of the U.S.A. and U.K. will welcome it, too. 
This does not solve any problem. The problems are too big 
to be solved this way; but when you are driving hard towards 
catastrophe and disaster, every move of this kind gives you 
time to consider and negotiate and this is useful and valuable. 
This, therefore, is a good move and I hope it will succeed. If 
it does, it will bring relief not only to the harassed people 
who are actually facing the trouble but also, to those people, 
not less harassed, who have to worry about these matters from 
a distance. 



THE GROWTH OF VIOLENCE 


I had not used the word ‘bloc’ in my address to this House 
yesterday but the word has been bandied about a good deal 
since I spoke. I am not thinking in terms of blocs, because it 
does not interest me very much. I am only concerned with 
my policy on each specific issue. Acharya Kripalani accused 
us of judging each question in isolation from everything else. 
I am aware that this can only be done in academic talk. No 
person dealing with realities can afford to do so. In fact, 
every question that comes before us has to be seen from a 
hundred different view-points. We have to weigh carefully 
its possible effects and consequences. I can only say that in 
every matter that comes up we have friendly consultations 
with a large number of countries. We do hardly anything 
without consulting the countries of the Commonwealth. Of 
course, we are in close touch with the U.S.A. and with other 
countries. We have been in close contact with the countries 
of South-East Asia like Burma and Indonesia. They are 
constantly keeping us informed of what they do. This process 
goes on all the time with the result that we arrive at a decision 
which fits in with what a number of countries think. If it does 
not wholly fit in, we always try to make it fit in. If our view- 
point is different, you cannot expect me to give up our view- 
point or the results that we have arrived at because some 
other nations think differently I just would not do that. I 
do not understand long and repeated arguments about this. 
I am on my country’s side and on nobody else’s. 

We have many friends and we collaborate and co-operate 
with them. But I am not prepared to surrender my judgement 
or my country’s judgement or my country’s position to any 
single country or group of countries. Then again, some people 
say we are isolated. I do not see how we are isolated when 
we act with others. 

I beg this House to consider Asia specially — Asia in a 
tremendous ferment of change. One does not know whether 
that change is good or bad. It may be bad but to my mind it 
does not concern Asia alone. Many things are taking place 
which I dislike intensely. I am not, for the moment, talking of 
war which is bad enough but rather about the temper of 
people as a whole and of all that one holds precious in life 



270 


JAWAHARLAI, NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


which gradually seems to be fading out, whichever country 
you may consider. People have become more brutal in 
thought, speech and action. All the graciousness and 
gentleness of life seems to have ebbed away. The human 
values seem to have suffered considerably. Of course, plenty of 
humaa values still remain; I am not saying that everything 
worthwhile is completely destroyed but I do say that the 
process of coarsening is going on apace all over the world, 
including our own country. We are being coarsened and 
vulgarized all over the world because of many things but 
chiefly because of violence and the succession of wars. If 
this process continues, I wonder whether anything of value in 
life will remain for sensitive individuals. 

We talk of victory and defeat, war and peace. Surely, 
we fight a war to gain some objectives and not merely to boast 
that we have knocked the other party down. The very objec- 
tives for which human life and human society have stood all 
these years now seem to be challenged. They are challenged 
sometimes by a theory or an ideology. They are challenged 
by authoritarianism which crushes the individual and they 
are challenged even in democratic societies, not by democracy 
but by this growth of violence and by the mentality that war 
breeds. In this state of affairs, are we to allow ourselves to be 
swept away and lose all our integrity of thought or action or 
should we hold fast to it and try to understand and co-operate 
with our friends? 

Of course, where we feel that there -is a wrong course of 
action, we part company. I do not see how any hon. Member 
can have any doubt when such a thing happens. One has to 
follow the right course and follow it regardless of conse- 
quences. We talk of possible invasions of India, of our 
frontiers being threatened, of something that may happen 
even though far from India, which may be a danger to the 
world. I hope'we have still enough moral fibre and spirit left in 
us to face any danger not only on the borders of our country 
but far away, if we think it is a danger to the world. 

There are two or three other matters and I will, if I may, 
deal with them separately. One of them relates to Nepal. 
My attention has been drawn to the fact that perhaps I was 



THE GROWTH OF VIOl ENGE 


271 


unjust in what I said about the State of Nepal. My description 
of the independence of Nepal, I am told, was perhaps not 
quite correct. I think it was perfectly correct but I have been 
somewhat misunderstood. What I said yesterday was this, 
that the independence of a counir> is ultimately judged by 
the foreign relations of that country. A country can be com- 
pletely independent as Nepal has been; but, if it has no 
foreign relations, it does not count in the comity of nations 
in the way an independent country does. I pointed out that 
during the last hundred years or more, although Nepal was 
an independent country, she had no foreign relations except 
through the British in India. That was her only wii dow to 
the outside world. It is only during the last 20 to 30 years 
that I believe she has had an Ambassador at the Court of 
St. James and, still more recently, in America. What I wish 
to make clear is this: I was not hinting that the British 
Government in India prevented her from having independent 
foieign relations but rather that she herself did not think it 
necessary or desirable or feasible to develop these 
international contacts. 

Much has been said about Nepal in the course of this 
debate. I do not wish to add anything to what I said yester- 
day. I think I have made our position clear enough. It is 
now almost exactly a month since this new situation 
developed in Nepal and we have dealt with it, I think I may 
well claim, with a very great deal of patience. We have been 
criticized by various people on various grounds because of 
that. Nevertheless, we do not intend to be rushed. What I 
said yesterday was clear enough indication, not only of how 
our minds were working but of the steps that we were taking 
or rather the line that we were adopting in our talks. We« 
propose to adhere to that line and as soon as the time comes 
to make any precise formal announcement, I shall come to 
the House and make it. 

I have spoken of China and, more particularly, of Tibet. 
Prof. Ranga seems to have been displeased at my occasional 
reference to Chinese suzerainty over Tibet. Please note that 
I used the word suzerainty, not sovereignty. There is a slight 
difference, though not much. I was telling the House about 



272 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


a historical fact; I was not discussing the future. It is 
a historical fact and in the context of things it is perfectly 
true that we have repeatedly admitted Chinese suzerainty 
over Tibet just as we have laid stress on Tibet’s autonomy. 
But apart from this historical or legal or constitutional 
argument or even the argument that Mr Gautam raised 
about buffer States and the like which, if I may say so, is not 
much of an argument, though it may be his desire and my 
desire, the real point to be made is that it is not right for any 
country to talk about its sovereignty or suzerainty over an 
area outside its own immediate range. That is to say, since 
Tibet is not the same as China, it should ultimately be the 
wishes of the people of Tibet that should prevail and not any 
legal or constitutional arguments. That, I think, is a valid 
point. Whether the people of Tibet are strong enough to 
assert their rights or not, is another matter. Whether we are 
strong enough or any other country is strong enough to see 
that this is done is also another matter. But it is a right and 
proper thing to say and I see no difficulty in saying to the 
Chinese Government that whether they have suzerainty over 
Tibet or sovereignty over Tibet, surely, according to any 
principles, the principles they proclaim and the principles I 
uphold, the last voice in regard to Tibet should be the voice 
of the people of Tibet and of nobody else. 

Sir, I do not know how you are going to proceed about 
this Motion. There are a number of amendments. I cannot 
accept any amendment. I think Mr Anthony’s amendment 
was about our resisting communistic aggression. I just do not 
understand how that amendment fits in. I am going to resist 
every type of aggression, regardless of whether it is communist 
or not. 

There is one other matter and I am sorry to take more of 
the time of the House. Pandit Kunzru criticized very much 
the attitude that we have taken up in the United Nations. 
That attitude has been governed by two factors. One is our 
judging the situation and deciding what would help at the 
time. The other was our feeling throughout that it was not 
much good passing resolutions which, generally speaking, 
were condemnatory and associating ourselves with such 



THE TEMPER OF PEACE 


279 


condemnation even though that condemnation might be 
justified, because that does not help. We wanted to find a 
way out. Our associating with that particular resolution 
would perhaps have meant a reduction in our capacity to 
help. Having condemned, we could not have approached 
the other party or dealt with it in any way. We could neither 
have understood their view-point nor could we have placed 
it before our other colleagues and friendly countries. Had 
we supported the resolution, we would not have been able to 
perform such -useful function or service as we do now. Apart 
from this, our general approach in this matter aims at peace 
and a settlement. If one is aiming at peace and a settlement, 
one should adopt ways that lead to peace and not those that 
lead to war. It may be that people do not want war- but one 
must beware of action that may lead to war. In this particular 
case, for instance, action has been taken which, it was thought, 
would not lead to an extension of the fighting area but which 
has, in fact, led to consequences that the people do not like 
and did not foresee. Therefore, in regard to those resolutions, 
we felt that we should not support them because that meant 
reducing the chances of a settlement by peaceful methods. 


THE TEMPER OF PEACE 

p 1 riends, it is always a pleasure for me to come to England. 

I have many friends here and the memory of my earlier 
days surrounds me. I welcome, therefore, this opportunity to 
come here again but the pleasure that this would have 
brought me has been marred somewhat by the crisis which 
confronts the world and the burdens which each one of us 
has to bear. This makes me somewhat hesitant to talk to you. 
It would serve little purpose for me to repeat platitudes. To 
refer frankly to the matters of grave import which oppress us 
today is not easy for me in my present position. It would ill 
become me to say anything which embarrasses friends here 
and yet this very consciousness of pervasive friendliness in 

Broadcast from London, Januan 12, 1951 



274 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


England emboldens me to talk to you as to friends who have 
a common purpose in view and who wish to co-operate in 
achieving it. 

What is that purpose? Surely, today, it is the avoidance 
of war and the maintenance of peace. Of my generation 
many have lived the greater part of their lives and only a 
few years remain for us. It matters little what happens to our 
generation but it does matter a great deal what happens to 
hundreds of millions of others and to the world at large. 
Today, these hundreds of millions all over the world live 
under some kind of suspended sentence of death and from 
day to day an atmosphere is created in people’s minds of the 
inevitability of war. Helplessly we seem to be driven towards 
the abyss. More and more people in responsible positions 
talk in terms of passion, revenge and retaliation. They talk 
of security and behave in a way which is likely to put an 
end to all security. They talk of peace, and think and act in 
terms of war. 

Are we so helpless that we cannot stop this drift towards 
catastrophe? I am sure that we can, because vast masses of 
people in every country want peace. Why, then, should they 
be driven by forces apparent!) beyond their control in a 
contrary direction? Politicians and statesmen strive for 
peace through the technique of politics which consists in 
devising carefull) wordetl formulae. During the last ten days, 
the Commonwealth Prime Ministers ha\e wrestled with 
this problem of world peace. All of us earnestly seek peace. I 
hope that our labours will help in producing the desired 
result. But something more is necessary than mere formulae. 
What we need is a passion for peace and for civilized be- 
haviour in international affairs. It is the temper of peace 
and not the temper of war that we want, even though peace 
is sometimes casually mentioned. 

It is to this temper of peace that I want especially to 
direct my mind and your mind. We are in the midst of an 
international crisis and, perhaps, even a greater crisis that 
confronts us today is the crisis in the spirit of man. We have 
built up a great civilization and its achievements are re- 
markable. It holds the promise of even greater achievements 



THE TEMPER OF PEACE 


275 


in the future. But while these material achievements are 
very great, somehow we appear to be slipping away from 
the very essence of civilization. Ultimately, culture and 
civilization rest in the mind and behaviour of man and not 
in the material evidence of it that we see around us. In times 
of war the civilizing process stops and we go back to some 
barbarous phase of the human mind. Are we speeding back 
to this barbarism of the mind? 

If we desire peace, we must develop the temper of peace 
and try to win even those who may be suspicious of us or who 
think they are against us. We have to try to understand 
others just as we expect them to understand us. We r annot 
seek peace in the language of war or of threats. You will all 
remember the magnificent example of which both England 
and India have reason to be proud. Both of us, in spite of 
long continued conflict, approached our problems with this 
basic temper of peace and we not only resolved them but 
produced, at the same time, abiding undo standing and 
friendship. That is a great example which we might well bear 
in mind whenever any other crisis in the relations of nations 
confronts us. This is the only civilized approach to problems 
and leaves no ill will or bitterness behind. 

I am not a pacifist. Unhappily, the world of today finds 
that it cannot do without force. We have to protect ourselves 
and to prepare ourselves for every contingency. We have to 
meet aggression and evils of other kind. To surrender to evil 
is always bad. But in resisting evil, we must not allow our- 
selves to be swept away by our own passions and fears and 
act in a manner which is itself evil. Even in resisting evil and 
aggression, we have always to maintain the temper of peace 
and hold out the hand of friendship to those who, through 
fear or for other reasons, may be opposed to us. That is the 
lesson that our great leader Mahatma Gandhi taught us 
and, imperfect as we are, wc draw inspiration from that great 
teaching. 

In Asia, as you know, great changes have taken place. I 
fear that most of us and, perhaps, more particularly you of 
the West do not realize the vastness of these changes. We are 
living through a great historic process which has created a 



276 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-195S 


ferment in the minds of hundreds of millions of people and 
which can be seen at work in political and economic changes. 
Asia has a very long history behind it and for long ages it has 
played an outstanding part in the world. During the last 
two or three hundred years it suffered an eclipse. Now it is 
emerging from its colonial status. Inevitably, this is making 
a great difference to the balance of forces in the world. The 
old equilibrium has been upset and can never be restored. 
That is a basic fact to remember. Asia is essentially peaceful 
but it is also proud and sensitive and very conscious of its 
newly-won freedom. In its exuberance it may go wrong 
occasionally. It has mighty problems of its own and wishes to 
live at peace with the rest of the world but it is no longer 
prepared to tolerate any domination or threat of domination 
or any behaviour after the old pattern of colonialism. It 
demands recognition of its new position in the world. There- 
fore, I would like you to view with understanding and sym- 
pathy these historic changes which are taking place in Asia, 
for it is of the utmost importance that Europe and Asia 
should understand each other. Nor should we forget the 
millions of people who are still under colonial domination in 
Africa and elsewhere. Outworn formulae of a past age will not 
help. A new approach and understanding are needed and 
if these are forthcoming, I feel sure that Asia will respond 
with all friendship. The countries of Asia need and seek 
friendship and co-operation, for they have tremendous 
problems to solve. These problems are concerned with the 
primary needs of their peoples — food, clothing, housing 
and the other necessities of life. They are too busy with these 
problems to desire to be entangled in international conflicts. 
But they are being dragged into them against their will. 

Great nations have arisen in Asia with long memories of 
the past they have lived through and with their eyes fixed 
on a future of promise. India, Pakistan, Burma, Ceylon and 
Indonesia have recently acquired their freedom. China has 
taken a new shape and a new form. But whether we like 
that shape and form or not, we have to recognize that a 
great nation has been reborn and is conscious of her new 
strength. China, in her new-found strength, has acted some- 



A GREAT CHALLENGE 


277 


times in a manner which I deeply regret. But we have to 
remember the background of China, — as of other Asian 
countries, the long period of struggle and frustration, the 
insolent treatment that they received from imperialist powers 
and the latter’s refusal to deal with them on terms of equality. 
.It is neither right nor practical to ignore the feelings of 
hundreds of millions of people. It is no longer safe to do so. 
We, in India, have had two thousand years of friendship 
with China. We have differences of opinion and even small 
conflicts but when we hark back to that long past something 
of the wisdom of that past also helps us to understand each 
other. And so, we endeavour to maintain friendly r < lations 
with this great neighbour of ours, for the peace of Asia 
depends upon these relations. 

The immediate problem of today is the problem of the 
Far East. If that is not solved satisfactorily, trouble will 
spread to Europe and to the rest of the world. And, perhaps, 
Furope, with her magnificent record of progress, not only 
in material achievements but also in the culture of the mind 
and spit it, will suffer most if war comes. Therefore, we must 
come to grips with this Far Eastern problem with the firm 
determination to solve it. We can only do so with the temper 
and approach of peace and friendship and not by threats. 
The time when threats were effective is long past. No question 
of saving face or prestige should come in the way of this 
human and civilized approach to the problems of our age. 

Our task is the preservation of peace and, indeed, of our 
civilization. To this task let us bend our energies and find 
fellowship and strength in each other. 


A GREAT CHALLENGE 

pi riekds and comrades, as you know, I have just come back 
from Europe after spending nearly three weeks in London, 
Paris and other places. It was difficult for me to leave India 

Broadcast from All India R&dio, Delhi, January 24, 1951 
19 — 1 1 DPD/6S 



278 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1049-1955 

where so many problems demanded attention. Nevertheless, 
I am glad I went and I think my visit has perhaps done 
some good. I was in Europe at a critical time when the issues 
of war and peace hung in the balance. I endeavoured to 
throw the whole weight of our country on the side of peace 
and a negotiated settlement of the conflict in the Far East. 

On my return, I have had both good news and bad. The 
first news that I received filled me with sorrow. This was 
about the death of that grand old man, Thakkar Bapa, than 
whom no one has been more devoted to the cause of our 
backward and under-privileged brothers and sisters especially 
the tribal folk. 

Another piece of news related to the settlement in Nepal. 
It is easy to criticize this as it is to criticize any step; but I am 
convinced that it was a statesmanlike act, on the part of all 
concerned, to come to this agreement. It marks the beginning 
of a new era in the history of our sister country. There will 
be many difficulties ahead and a multitude of problems, but 
if the people of Nepal and their representatives seek the good 
of their country with a singleness of purpose and co-operate 
with one another in this great task, I am sure that success 
will come to them. The immediate task for the proposed 
interim Government is to take charge of the administration 
of the country and to establish peace and order. Nepal is 
independent and we value her independence. But she is 
also in close touch with India and, therefore, we have 
especially welcomed the big step towards democracy that is 
about to be taken. 

Perhaps, our biggest problem at present is that of food or 
rather the scarcity of it. There is naturally much apprehen- 
sion and some suffering because of this. As you know, we have 
tried our utmost to secure food from abroad and we hope 
that our efforts will succeed. Meanwhile, we have to share 
such food as we have and this involves a tightening of the 
belt for all of us. Let each person also remember that he 
should not have more than his share, for this can only result 
in others having less than their share. 

I am speaking to you almost on the eve of the first anni- 
versary of the establishment of our Republic. We have passed 



A GREAT CHALLENGE 


279 


through a difficult year, both nationally and internationally 
and our difficulties continue. It has been a year of some 
achievements, of many disasters and sorrows and of continued 
international tension. We are not the only country which 
has had to face these heavy burdens. The world is sick today 
and no country and no sensitive person can be healthy when 
we see this sorrow and sickness all around. We have no magic 
remedies for the world’s ills or our own. The only remedy is 
to try to understand the disease. The crisis of the world de- 
mands that we forget our petty differences and stand shoulder 
to shoulder in the service of our country and of humanity. 
Within a few days, the All-India Congress Commit ce will 
be meeting in Ahmedabad and a special duty de\ olves on 
those soldiers of freedom who will meet again in the city that 
was hallowed by the presence of Gandhiji. Let us meet there, 
as elsewhere, in the spirit of reverent service, with the desire 
to sink our differences and co-operate in the great tasks that 
have fallen to us. 

Although our internal problems are great and complex, 
they are, for the moment, overshadowed by the crisis in 
international affairs, because the future of our country, as 
that of every country, depends on how we deal with this 
crisis and on its outcome. If we cannot solve it peacefully and 
the world drifts towards war, then, indeed, our generation 
will have failed miserably and it will have to pay a very 
heavy price for that failure. There is no half-way house for 
us; we can either work whole-heartedly and with all the 
strength we have to avert the awful calamity of a world war 
or we must allow the world to sink into an abyss. Let no man 
think that any good to him or to his country will come of a 
war. A war will convulse the whole world, bringing not only 
infinite destruction in its train but also corrupting the souls 
of those who survive. We are thus facing a great challenge 
to our civilization and to such culture as we may possess. 
How are we going to answer this challenge? 

As I speak to you, sharp debates are going on at Lake 
Success on this very issue and earnest men are arguing with 
one another about what should be done. I have no doubt 
that all of them, as well as the countries they represent, 



280 


JAWAHARALAL NEHRU S SPEECHES 1919-1953 


desire to avoid war, for, knowing what it means no person 
can seek it deliberately. And yet, in the passion of the 
moment, many things are said and done which may lead to 
the war we all seek to avoid. We have, therefore, to be clear 
in our minds and firm in our purpose. We must not be swept 
away by any gusts of passion or prejudice, for great tasks rest 
on us and more especially on those who occupy positions of 
responsibility. 

The most urgent problem today is that of the Far East. 
A brutal war has raged in Korea for many months and 
innumerable innocent lives have been sacrificed. I think it is 
true that there was aggression there but it is also true that of 
the parties concerned none is wholly free from blame. For 
the past year or more, we persistently urged that the new 
China should be given a place in the counsels of the world 
at Lake Success. Yet this was not done and most people realize 
now that the fate of the world might well have been different 
had that obvious fact been recognized. There has been 
reluctance to accept the great changes that have come over 
Asia. There is still an attempt sometimes to treat the great 
nations of Asia in the old way. But the major fact of the age 
is the emergence of a new Asia. This has naturally upset 
the old equilibrium and balance of power but the change 
must be recognized, if we are to deal realistically with the 
world of today. Because the United Nations did not recognize 
it, difficulties arose that still continue to trouble us. 

There was, as you know, the question of crossing the 38th 
Parallel in Korea. Adequate notice and warning was given 
but it was not heeded and further complications ensued. Can 
we not say now, wiser after the event, that this was a major 
error, which should have been avoided? 

It serves little purpose to go back to past history except to 
learn from it. We have to deal with the present and the 
future but it sometimes appears that we have failed to learn 
any lessons from the past. A proposal has been made in the 
United Nations to name China an aggressor and, quite 
possibly, it is being discussed today. This proposal cannot 
lead to peace. It can only lead to an intensification of the 
conflict and might, perhaps, close the door to further negotia- 



A GREAT CHALLENGE 


281 


tions. It is a tremendous responsibility for any person to take 
such a step. At no time should this door be closed, for if we 
close it, we also close the door to a civilized approach to 
any problem. 

I have been intimately concerned with recent develop- 
ments and I have closely followed them. I am convinced that 
tliere is an overwhelming desire for peace all over the world, 
both in the East and the West. My visit to Western countries 
has convinced me of this. The information 1 have received 
from our Ambassador in Peking has also convinced me that 
the People’s Government of China is eager to have negotia- 
tions for a settlement of the Korean dispute and of tl e other 
problems in the Far East. Their reply to the resolutions of 
the Political Committee of the United Nations, embodying 
certain principles, was considered by some people as a rejec- 
tion of those principles. After the closest scrutiny, I was 
totally unable to understand this criticism. 

Their reply was a partial acceptance of those principles 
and certain further suggestions were made which were 
obviously meant to be discussed. Subsequent to this, further 
clarification has come from the Chinese Government and 
this has made it even more clear that they are desirous of 
negotiations for peace in the Far East. It is easy to argue 
about words and phrases and such arguments can continue 
indefinitely. But the occasion demands the highest statesman- 
ship and an approach to these vital problems in a temper of 
peace and friendliness. It is obvious to me that enough has 
been said on both sides to make it clear that negotiations in 
conference will be the next fruitful step. The time has come, 
therefore, when the representatives of the Powers concerned 
should meet and discuss these problems instead of talking at 
each other across thousands of miles. 

If the problem of the Far East is tackled with success it 
will by itself remove the great tension that exists in the world; 
and it will then be easier to tackle the other problems of 
Asia and Europe. We have thus the great opportunity of 
turning the tide of events away from war and in the direc- 
tion of enduring peace. 

I would appeal to the great nations of the West, who are 



JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


the repositories of a magnificent culture that we admire and 
whose astonishing scientific and technical achievements 
have opened a new era for mankind, not to lose this opportu- 
nity in their search for peace. To the nations of Asia, I can 
speak, perhaps, in even more intimate language and express 
the fervent hope that they will stand by the methods of peace, 
whatever happens. 


WE WILL NOT COMPROMISE 

rpHosE hon. Members who have sponken during this debate 
hose hon. Members who have spoken during this debate 
ces to our foreign policy that there is really very little that I 
need to say in defence of it. As far as I have been able to make 
out, there is a great deal of agreement in this House on the 
objectives and trends of our foreign policy and I must express 
my gratitude to the House for its kind reception to our views. 

It is not an easy matter to speak on a subject which is as 
wide as the world before us and which involves so many 
varied and difficult problems. I confess that, although I have 
given a great deal of attention to these matters over a period 
of years and am constantly in touch with developments as 
they occur, I have not yet been able to grasp this sorry scheme 
of things in the world today, in its entirety. I try to do so as 
much as I can and take counsel with my colleagues and 
advisers but, of necessity, the world becomes more and more 
complicated and with it our foreign policy. 

An hon. Member, speaking this morning, quoted a 
dictum of Bismarck in support of his conclusion that we 
should consider our frontiers to be somewhere in East Africa, 
Malaya, Burma and various other distant places. The hon. 
Member’s observation and his quotation from Bismarck for 
a moment transported me to another century. And I am sure 
that the hon. Member himself spends his time mostly in 

Speech during debate on Foreign Affairs in Parliament, New Delhi, March, 28, 

1951 



WE WILL NOT COMPROMISE 


283 


another century. I am sure he will find out sooner or later 
that not only has Bismarck been long dead but his policies 
are still more dead. And if any country were to emulate his 
policy, it is bound to fail. If we begin to think in terms of 
our frontiers extending thousands of miles away from India 
then others will think of their frontiers as existing in India 
-and immediately clashes are bound to occur. The fact of the 
matter is that this nineteenth century outlook which the 
hon. Member represents in this House, was the outlook of a 
few imperialist and expansionist European Powers who were 
trying to spread over the world, in Africa, in Asia and else- 
where, sometimes coming into conflict with the peoples of 
these continents and at others going to war with one another 
while trying to grab the world and divide it up among them- 
selves. There is no part of the world now left for ar ./ imperia- 
list Power to seize. That rnay not, of course, prevent them 
from trying to do so and they may conceivably take posses- 
sion of some territory here and there for some time. There 
is no doubt that there still exist people with expansionist 
ambitions. 

So, let us forget the nineteenth century and think of this 
critical, rather tragic period in the twentieth century instead 
in which we live. Let us not imagine that foreign policy is 
like a game of chess played by superior statesmen sitting in 
their chancelleries. It is much more complicated than that, 
for it is governed by the aspirations of hundreds of millions 
of people whose economic needs and objectives are motivated 
by a variety of causes. It is governed by the threat of war, 
a war on an unimaginable scale which has been made 
possible by tremendous technological developments. Foreign 
policy is, thus, no more a matter, as in the olden days, of 
siding with one Power against another in return for some 
territorial possession or advantage. We cannot deal with this 
international situation without understanding the basic 
causes underlying it, except by evaluating these in terms of 
the objectives that inspire our own activities and shape our 
policies. 

When people talk of alignment of nations, they over- 
simplify the related issues. I can understand alignments in 



284 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


times of war; they are probably inevitable. But I fail to 
understand why this war-time psychology of alignment 
should be imported into times of relative peace and why 
any country should be persuaded to line up with one group 
or another. . 

My statement holds good irrespective of the policies or 
objectives of such rival groups. Under such circumstances 
our policy would be simple without, at the same time, being 
either passive or negative — we would do our utmost to avoid 
a world war or any war for that matter, we shall judge all 
issues on their merits and act in conformity with our 
objective. By aligning ourselves with only one Power, you 
surrender your opinion, give up the policy you would 
normally pursue because somebody else wants you to pursue 
another policy. I do not think that it would be a right policy 
for us to adopt. If we did align ourselves we would only fall 
between two stools. We will neither be following the policy 
based on our ideals inherited from our past or the one 
indicated by our present nor will we be able easily to adapt 
ourselves to the new policy consequent on such alignment. 
Our present policy flows from what we have thought and said 
in the past, while incidentally it also helps in the maintenance 
of peace and the avoidance of war in the world today. 

During the debate, repeated references were made to 
external publicity. I shall frankly confess that I am not 
satisfied with our external publicity. I am not satisfied with 
it for a variety of reasons, the first among them being that it 
is inadequate due to financial reasons. Secondly, the personnel 
in charge of it is not quite as well trained or as satisfactory as 
we should like it to be. The hon. Members who spoke on 
this subject said that they wanted persons in charge of our 
external publicity to be well versed in India’s history, culture 
etc. I agree with them and we certainly would like to have 
such people. The hon. Members also suggested that they 
should be trained journalists. In addition to these, of course, 
there are obviously other specific qualities required of those 
engaged in external publicity. An officer may prove to be 
a great success in the United States of America but may turn 
out to be a complete failure, say, in China or in a European 



WE WILL NOT COMPROMISE 


285 


country. There are certain special qualities and knowledge 
that may be required of the personnel depending on the 
country to which they are likely to be posted. The selection 
of personnel for external publicity is thus as difficult as the 
selection of diplomatic personnel. 

Apart from this, I should like the House 'o considci 
whether our external publicity should he done in the same 
way as in the U.S.A. or the United Kingdom. They are 
great countries with ample resources; the money they spend 
on publicity abroad is enormous and far beyond our means. 
Speaking for myself, even if I had all that money, I would 
not spend it in the same way. I would much ratht r make 
use of it for the development of our country. We cannot 
compete with them and we do not want to compete with 
them. Our ways arc different and our background is different. 

While the quality of our publicity admittedly depends on 
the ability of our representatives, what we say about our 
achievements ultimately depends on the achievements them- 
selves. And what is the test of the efficacy of our external 
publicity or even of our foreign policy? The ultimate test 
is whether our country rises in status in the councils of the 
world or not. It is certainly true that the policies of our 
Government come up for criticism in other countries, 
especially those which do not approve of our policies. Yet, 
the status of India in the world is much greater today than 
ever before. I do not wish to dwell upon this point further, 
for ultimately what we really ate matters more than what 
other people think of us. 

Very often, on specific issues, the bulk of opinion may be 
against us in a particular country. Under these circumstances, 
it will be unfair to expect our representative abroad to be 
able to influence a whole country merely through pamphlets 
and talks. He can only outline our general policies and bring 
them to the notice of the public in diat country. He cannot 
convince people of our policies against their will. We cannoL 
hold him responsible if our policies do not find favour with 
the public in a foreign country. It is we here who are 
responsible for evolving policies. Unfortunately, today, there 
is a great deal of adverse criticism in some countries against 



286 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1955 


our policy and sometimes it takes rather a personal form, 
too. Well, I do not think we should mind this over much. 

Some hon. Members have made the extraordinary sugges- 
tion that we issue an ultimatum to the foreign powers who 
have possessions in India; they advocate what they call a 
'strong line.’ One does not go about, in this complicated 
world, issuing ultimatums, unless one follows the policies of 
Bismarck which the hon. Member referred to, unless one had 
the strength of Bismarck behind one. Let me make clear our 
policy in regard to foreign possessions in India. India cannot 
tolerate any footholds of foreign powers in this country. We 
are anxious to give the people in these areas an opportunity 
to live their own life and the right to choose their future. We 
do not wish to interfere with their ways of life. There are only 
two ways of bringing this about — either through war or 
through diplomatic means. In pursuance of our ideals, we 
have ruled out war as a means of redress, unless we are 
forced into one. The only alternative we are left with is the 
diplomatic method and we are pursuing it. 

In the world as it is today, it is impossible to force the 
pace of events 01 act decisively and firmly in such matters as 
this without endangering the peace not only in the region 
concerned but in the world as a whole. Our attitude to 
foreign possessions in India has, of necessity, been cautious 
and our progress in securing results necessarily slow. In so 
far as a peaceful solution avoids entanglements, it may even 
prove to be the swiftest of solutions. 

The House is no doubt aware that foreign ministers of 
certain important countries are meeting in Europe and 
proceeding very slowly only to draw up an agenda. If these 
matters are discussed round a conference table, there is always 
hope of some solution being found. It may not prove to be a 
lasting solution but, at any rate, it will serve to avert war. 
We venture to suggest that the same method be employed in 
the Far East and that the Powers concerned should gather 
round a conference table. At one time, it almost seemed as 
if this were possible but unfortunately it did not take place; 
events took a different turn and the United Nations passed 
a resolution which, temporarily at least, came in the way 



WE WILL NOT COMPROMISE 


287 


of a negotiated settlement. Meanwhile, the war is going on in 
Korea and, whatever the result of this war, it is eventually 
the people of Korea, I suppose, who will suffer most. It is a 
sad commentary on our times that, whether one country 
sets out to enslave another or whether it seeks to liberate it, 
the consequences are exactly the same. In either case, it is 
death and misery for millions. I should imagine that the 
situation in Korea, from the point of view of the United 
Nations, has improved somewhat during the last few months 
but I doubt if that has made any difference. I am no expert 
on military affairs and I can say nothing more. Summing up 
my view of the recent developments, however, I would say, 
guardedly and negatively, that the last two or three months 
have not brought war any nearer. On the whole, the tension 
in the world has relented and the danger of a world war has, 
if anything, receded. I do not say that it has disappeared 
altogether. On balance, we have gained something and I feel 
that this gain should be consolidated. I must remark, in 
conclusion, that the United Nations was meant to be an 
institution for the preservation of peace and was organized 
as such. Paradoxically enough, it is now engaged in meeting 
aggression with armed force. 

Another curious feature of the situation in Korea is 
becoming increasingly evident. A new development is taking 
place, a rather remarkable and a disconcerting one. Generals 
in the Far East have started making statements of far- 
reaching political significance. It seems to me that this 
development is fraught with grave consequences for all the 
countries concerned. A particular general may be a great 
soldier or commander but that does not entitle him to make 
excursions into the realm of politics. During the last few 
hundred years, in democratic as well as non-democratic 
countries, it has been customary for the civil government 
of the day to lay down policies and for the commanders in the 
field to carry them out. Before policies are formulated, the 
views of the commander on the military situation are ascer- 
tained but policies are laid down by the governments. 
As far as India is concerned, I can say that no commander 
in India is going to lay down any policy at any time; it is the 



288 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1958 

Government of India that will do that. 

One hon. Member wanted to know if it was true that 
India House did not submit any accounts or papers to the 
Ministry in Delhi and that there was a kind of imperium in 
imperio. This certainly was news to me but, in order to avoid 
a mistake, I referred the matter to my Ministry and was 
told that this statement of the hon. Member was very, very 
far from being correct. Let me read out the note received 
from my Ministry. 

“Not only are all the accounts of the High Commis- 
sioner’s office audited by the Auditor of the Home Accounts 
in London but the final consolidated figures of expenditure 
are sent by the auditor to the Accountant General of Central 
Revenues here for incorporation in the accounts of the 
Central Government. The High Commissioner also sends us 
full details of his budget estimates. These are scrutinized and 
approved by the Ministry. This latter procedure came into 
force from this year.” 

My friend, the hon. Dr Mookerjec, also referred to India 
House in rather mysterious terms and suggested that some 
enquiry be made into its affairs. I am willing, if the need 
arises, to institute an enquiry but we have to have a specific 
subject for an enquiry. It is true that India House at present 
is by far the most expensive of our foreign Missions but then it 
is not just another embassy. Within its sphere comes a wide 
range of important and miscellaneous activity. We have 
inherited some of the duties of the old- India Office. It has 
a very large education department which deals with 
thousands of Indian students; there also exists another large 
section to represent our Army, Navy and Air Force as well 
as a supply department and a large medical section besides. 
But one must remember that the diplomatic functions are 
far heavier in London than in any other Mission abroad. 

• Besides, London still continues to be a very highly important 
international centre for economic and political reasons. It 
is not, therefore, at all helpful if an hon. Member feels 
vaguely that something is wrong. I can certainly have any 
particular complaint looked into when it is brought to our 
notice. 



WE WILL NOT COMPROMISE 


289 


The House is no doubt aware that, among the foreign 
countries we have to deal with, Pakistan is the most im- 
portant. This is so for a variety of reasons. Apart from being 
our next-door neighbour, Pakistan shares her history and 
culture with us. Also, the problems in which we arc mutually 
involved have, in a manner of speaking, brought us closer 
‘ to each other. A large number of people in Pakistan have their 
friends and relatives here; similarly, people in India have 
friends and relatives in Pakistan. When people come over 
from the other side and meet their old friends, they embrace 
one another; they forget, for a moment, the new barriers 
that have sprung up between them and talk of old times 
with nostalgia. In spite of all that has happened, the two 
countries are intimately connected. As against all this, it is 
also true that grave problems have arisen, during the last 
three and a half years, in our relations. These problems were 
inevitable consequences of Partition but what happened 
after it has made the situation considerably worse. All these 
years, we have been struggling to restore normal relations 
and although we have made some progress in this direction, 
they would certainly admit of improvement. Any problem 
bearing on our relations with Pakistan, whether it relates 
to East Bengal or the canal waters in the Punjab, has to be 
viewed not in isolation but as a part of Indo-Pakistan relations 
as a whole. Unfortunately, there is a great deal of fear and 
suspicion that vitiates our relations. Speaking on this subject 
Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjec expressed the opinion that our 
attitude to Pakistan was contradictory. On the one hand, 
we talk of coming to terms with Pakistan and have entered 
into a trade pact with her which, he said, would only help 
Pakistan to become stronger in relation to us. On the other 
hand, he pointed out, we have taken a firm stand on Kashmir. 
It is true that we do both because both are necessary. 
Obviously, we cannot overlook any obstacles to better 
relations between the two countries if they exist. Nor can 
we go to war because the Kashmir issue remains unsolved. 
Though our attitude is logical in a theoretical sense/ it 
postulates two antithetical courses of action. Our policy is, 
nevertheless, an integral whole. Let me sum it up for you. 



290 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-195S 


We are convinced that India and Pakistan must, as quickly 
as possible, revert to normality in their relations. The two 
countries are so situated that it is imperative that the relations 
between the two should be the most cordial. Being neigh- 
bours, they have a certain identity of economic interests. It 
is only when they promote their trade relations arising from 
their economic interdependence that their relations can 
return to normality. In the meanwhile, we cannot escape 
from the problems that detract from improved relations 
between Pakistan and us. We try to overcome them, not to 
lose hope and give them up as insoluble. Struggling in our 
search for agreement, we proceed slowly and patiently. 
Sometimes, we make a little progress and are heartened by 
it. Only recently we came to a trade agreement with Pakistan. 
We did not contract this agreement in a fit of generosity for 
Pakistan. Not that it is bad to be generous. On the contrary, 
generosity pays in the end provided you are not generous at 
somebody’s expense or at the expense of your own country. 
1, however, maintain that we were not being generous to 
Pakistan. It was in the light of an objective appraisal of the 
situation from which, I assure you, all sentiment was divorced 
that we decided that a trade pact between the two countries 
was bound to be mutually beneficial. We stand to profit as 
much from it as Pakistan. I am afraid that some of us in this 
House welcome any opportunity to injure the interests of 
the other party but we should bear in mind the possibility 
that the harm might recoil on us. The trade pact was thus 
considered not only an objectively desirable step but also 
as one which would help in securing some normality in our 
relations. There are a number of outstanding disputes, such 
as the ones relating to the canal waters and evacuee 
property. The House is aware that we have made several 
attempts to resolve them but 1 shall not go into them at 
present. 

Mr Bakar Ali Mirza said that he deeply regretted the 
partition of India. So do all of us. Nevertheless, I think we 
all realize that, however regrettable Partition was and 
however grave its consequences, the fact remains that we had 
agreed to it. Any attempt to go back on it is bound to prove 



WE WILL NOT COMPROMISE 


291 


utterly impractical. And to wish to do so seems to me merely 
sentimental. 

Finally, I should like to say a few words about the 
Kashmir issue. Normally, I would not have said much about 
it because the issue is, at the moment, being considered 
by the Security Council. In fact, I believe it is coming up for 
discussion tomorrow at Lake Success. I should, however, 
like to clear a few doubts which exist, not in the minds of hon. 
Members in the House but in the minds of people outside it. 
More than one hon. Member have suggested that the issue 
be withdrawn from the Security Council. This reaction is, 
perhaps, understandable in the circumstances. In the first 
place, I am not quite sure if it can be at all withdrawn. 
Secondly, this could entail the reorientation of our basic 
policy towards the United Nations Organization. This is 
not a small matter. From the very outset, we have reposed 
our faith in the UNO, not because we considered it a perfect 
organization but because we thought it was a step in the 
right direction, because we felt its objectives were right. The 
mistakes which it has undoubtedly made cannot, however, 
disprove the need for such an organization. I have some- 
times been distressed by the thought that the UNO has 
moved away from some of the ideals that led to its creation. 
Nevertheless, I feel that if the UNO ceased to function today, 
it would be a disaster for the world. For the world cannot 
afford to do without some such organization. It would be a 
wrong thing for any country, in a fit of impatience, to sever 
its relation with this Body and weaken it in the process. 
There will then be nothing left to fall back upon in inter- 
national relations. I believe our attitude to Kashmir has been 
characterized as sentimental by people abroad. I wonder 
what our critics would say if they read about Pakistan’s 
approach in their newspapers. I can assure our critics that 
my colleagues in the Government who formulate our policies 
are not easily influenced by sentiment. In fact, I have always 
found their capacity for cold-blooded reasoning remarkable. 
I should also like to remind the critics that, for months after 
the raids on Kashmir started, we had the good fortune to have 
Gandhi ji with us. Hardly a day passed when I did not 



292 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


seek his advice on matters that troubled me. His views on the 
Kashmir issue are no secrets, because he expressed them at 
his prayer meetings. By no stretch of imagination could his 
attitude be described as sentimental. I know his conclusions 
were arrived at after close reasoning. 

The House will remember that, some time ago, a resolu- 
tion jointly sponsored by the U.S. and U.K. delegations was 
placed before the Security Council. I must say that it 
distressed us to read it for it seemed to us so completely wide 
of the mark. How could they ignore so much of what has 
happened? How the able representatives of these two great 
nations could possibly have sponsored a resolution like this 
is beyond me. At the meeting of the Security Council, the 
Foreign Minister of Pakistan also spoke at great length and his 
charges were incredibly fantastic; it was a surprising per- 
formance even for him. I have had something to say about 
all this and I do not wish to repeat myself. The resolution, 
its approach and the way it has been put forward at this 
juncture will endanger the peace of the world. This approach 
is wrong and distorted and grossly unfair to India and the 
people of Kashmir. Since we did not accept this resolution, 
we did not suggest any amendments to it. 

In the place of this joint resolution, an amended resolu- 
tion has now been placed before the Security Council by the 
same sponsors. I agree that, to a certain extent, it is an 
improvement on the old one but, basically, it still ignores the 
real situation. It also contains certain recommendations 
which, as we have all along made clear, we cannot accept. 
Further, I must express my regret at the tone and content 
of some of the speeches, in particular the one made by the 
representative of the United Kingdom. It seems to me that he 
has displayed an astonishing ignorance of the entire problem. 

Even during the period when the resolution was being 
considered by the Security Council, before it and since then, 
there has been a continuous and intensive propaganda in 
Pakistan for jehad against India. Any talk of settlement seems 
to me to be wholly futile in the context of this perpetual 
threat of jehad and, to add to that, the wild charges made 
against us by the Foreign Minister of Pakistan. The 



WE WILL NOT COMPROMISE 


29S 


atmosphere has to clear up before any friendly talks are 
possible. Above all, India desires peace for herself and peace 
in the world. Let me, however, remind everyone concerned, 
that India is not quite so weak or helpless that she should 
submit to insults and the threats of jehad. 

From the very beginning it has been our declared wish 
that the people of Kashmir should themselves decide their 
future. We will continue to adhere to our policy whatever 
happens. In pursuance of our policy, we agreed to hold a 
plebiscite provided the conditions necessary for its peaceful 
conduct were fulfilled. The conditions which we consider 
necessary for a plebiscite are contained in the resolutions of 
the Security Council of August 1948 and January 1949. 
A deliberate attempt is now being made to go back on these 
and hence the delay in settlement. We made many important 
concessions when we accepted those resolutions. We could 
not further compromise on issues which we considered funda- 
mental. The substance of the resolutions of 1948 and 1949 
and the directives contained therein we considered vital and 
still do; we will not compromise on these in order to appease 
Pakistan or her sympathizers. Nor can we agree to leave 
Kashmir unprotected or ungoverned. We‘ cannot allow any 
outside authority, civil or military, to assume charge of its 
affairs even temporarily. 

The resolution now before the Security Council does not 
flow from the resolution of August 1948. It is a new 
proposition altogether and the arguments advanced in 
support of it by the U.K. and U.S. delegations posit an 
entirely new and fantastic theory that Kashmir is a kind 
of no-man’s land where sovereignty is yet undetermined. 
Neither the United Nations Commission nor the Security 
Council have ever advanced such a theory before and, indeed, 
they could not because the facts were indisputably clear. 
Kashmir is, juridically and politically, an integral part of 
India and at no time have the United Nations Commission 
or the Security Council challenged this fact. The fact that 
Pakistan is guilty of aggression in Kashmir and that, as a 
result of this, a certain portion of it has been removed from 
our factual control cannot and does not detract from our 

20—11 DPD/65 



294 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


status and our right in Kashmir. Because of our desire to 
secure the conditions of peace and to avoid further blood- 
shed, we accepted the Ceace-fire Agreement and chose to 
allow the existing military position to continue pending 
further negotiations. This has been interpreted not only to 
mean that Pakistan has acquired some kind of political right 
over the territory now under her control but also that she has 
a right to interfere in the other part of Kashmir. We refuse 
to accept either of these interpretations. In whatever manner 
I look at the case I do not see how Pakistan has any rights 
whatsoever. 

The accession of Kashmir to India is entirely in 
conformity with the Indian Independence Act and the 
negotiations that preceded it; it is also fully in accord with 
all that has happened in the case of the other Princely States 
which acceded to India. Kashmir acceded to India when 
she was still a Dominion of the Commonwealth and the 
accession was accepted on behalf of the Crown by the then 
Governor-General. It is strange that His Majesty’s Govern- 
ment should now argue that a Dominion had acted 
unconstitutionally; they are really blaming themselves. 

The Governrfient of India has been a continuing body 
through the changes in India’s constitutional status. When 
India became a republic some time after power had been 
transferred to Indian hands, the new Government inherited 
not only the liabilities and duties of the old Government but 
also its assets and its rights. After all, we continued to be a 
member of the United Nations without a fresh election. 
Similarly, it was as much our right as it was our responsibility 
to protect not only the States which had acceded to India but 
also those which had not acceded to Pakistan. Thus, even 
if Kashmir had not acceded to India, we should have still 
been obliged to protect the people of Kashmir against aggres- 
sion. Kashmir has at no time been recognized as a sovereign 
State under international law. It has always been considered 
an integral part of India. Partition made no difference to 
our responsibilities in Kashmir as long as it had not acceded 
to Pakistan. We did not ask the United Nations to adjudge 
the validity of Kashmir’s accession or to determine where 



WE WII.L NOT COMPROMISE 


'295 


sovereignty lay. We did not seek arbitration but we went 
to them to complain about aggression by Pakistan which 
we thought might jeopardize world peace. Evidently, the 
sponsors of the joint resolution suffer from a short memory; 
they have even forgotten how the matter came up before the 
Security Council and the history of the tragic period that 
preceded it. The United Nations took advantage of our 
initiative in our referring the matter to them and thus 
enlarged the scope of their enquiry. Despite the protests of 
the Kashmir Government, we accorded every facility to the 
UN Commission only because we did not want to under- 
mine the prestige of the United Nations. Until now, neither 
the UN Commission nor the Security Council ha' c suggested 
that the accession was open to question. 

We have always been agreeable to the idea of a peaceful 
settlement through mediation. We do not consider arbitra- 
ment the right means of solution for a complex problem like 
demilitarization. We submit that the proposal for arbitra- 
ment is not fair because it ignores the basic facts we have 
mentioned. 

A great deal of stress has been laid, in the revised resolu- 
tion and in the speeches sponsoring it, on the proposal to have 
a Constituent Assembly for Kashmir. No mention has, 
however, been made of the continuous threat of war that is 
hurled at us by Pakistan day after day. We have made it 
abundantly clear that the proposal to have Constituent 
Assembly in Kashmir does not, in any way, detract from the 
authority of the United Nations. It follows naturally and 
inevitably from our Constitution. We are merely seeking to 
regularize the position in Kashmir so that the authority for 
government is derived from the people and not from an 
absolute sovereign or from a political party. 

I want to repeat that Kashmir is an integral part of India 
and is governed, in so far as the subjects on which Kashmir 
has acceded to India are concerned, by the Constitution of 
India. I hope people will realize that we cannot afford to 
upset or violate our Constitution just because of some resolu- 
tion that has been placed before the Security Council. 

We are always prepared to have the assistance of a 



296 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


mediator in order to explore the possibilities of a settlement. 
How far such a mediator would be able, at this juncture, to 
bring about a solution is a matter for consideration by all those 
concerned. I have dwelt at length on the legal and historical 
aspects of this case, not because I believe that the strength of 
our case is based on barren legal formulas but because I 
desire to remind the parties to this dispute and those who 
are interested in its solution that we cannot be expected 
wilfully to violate our Constitution and our laws which we 
hold sacred. I have often had to repeat our case because, 
unfortunately, people in this world begin to lose their pers- 
pective when they hear untruth told them repeatedly. 


WE DECIDE FOR OURSELVES 

S ir, I have listened with attention and respect to the speeches 
delivered on this Motion. When I was not able to be 
present I took the trouble to read the reports of the speeches 
made. Many kind words have been said about the President’s 
Address and about the work of the Government. Many 
critical things have also been said. The President’s Address, 
coming as it did from that high office notwithstanding, is 
a statement made on behalf of the Government. It represents 
in dignified and restrained language the general outlook 
and policy of the Government. 

As the President said in his Address, we have met under 
rather unusual circumstances. This House is not likely to 
consider any matter of controversy in the course of this 
session. We shall carry on because Governments have to 
carry on whatever happens. Therefore, we must cover the 
interregnum between this Parliament which is in its last 
stages and the new one, now in the process of birth. At such 
moments, one tends to look back at what has been done and 
at the same time to try and peep through the veil of the future. 

Reply to debate on the President’s Address in Parliament, New Delhi, 
February 12, 1952 



WE DECIDE EOR OURSELVES 


297 


It is quite natural that references should have been made 
to the General Elections. Important as they arc, they do not 
touch the problems before the country. As an hon. Member 
said, the General Elections have been a tremendous 
experience for millions of our people. It is easy to criticize 
some of the things that happened during the elections but 1 
think it is generally recognized here and abroad that this 
gigantic experiment has been a great success. Although the 
organization that planned the elections did very good work, 
it is really the people of India who carried them through and 
who, therefore, deserve our congratulations. Whatever our 
personal reactions to the results of the elections 01 o the way 
they were conducted, I think we shall be completely justified 
in saying that they represented the mind nt India at the time. 
It is possible that people gave their votes under some stress or 
influence or that a desire to express their displeasure or 
pleasure pla) ed some part in the manner of voting. In that 
case, their view may change later. Ne\eitheless, the results 
of the elections were a fair indication of the forces at work in 
India. 

These elections can teach us many lessons and if we are 
wise we shall learn them and fashion our conduct accordingly. 

I do not wish to say much more about the elections. 
Many of us feel that the election rules laid down by Parlia- 
ment are capable of improvement and that the improvement, 
if and when made, will further simplify the election machi- 
nery. 

Some points brought up by an hon. Member, I think, 
are worthy of notice and consideration. For instance, it is 
alleged — I am not personally aware of it — that in some places 
the ballot boxes could have been opened and tampered with. 
If it is true, it is a grave matter and needs to be looked into. 
I entirely agree with the hon. Member that, as far as possible, 
the counting should be done immediately after the polling 
with no gap of time in between. I presume nobody will differ 
with this view. These were our first elections and we did not 
have enough people with sufficient experience in this matter. 
I have no doubt that on the next occasion many of these 
defects will be eliminated. 



298 


JAWAHAR1.AL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


It was also pointed out that it was not very difficult to 
remove the symbol from the box. 1 do not wish to say any- 
thing to discredit the election machinery, because these are 
odd incidents. I know of a case where a clerk was seen 
removing a label from one box and trying to put in another. 
He was caught by his officer. If it is done once, it will make 
no significant difference; but if done oftener it can completely 
falsify the voting in that box. All this must be enquired into. 

I have referred briefly to the elections but what I really 
wanted to say to this House was about the bigger problems 
we are facing. Even though this House may not be directly 
concerned, the country is facing them and many of us will 
have to deal with them in other capacities. The President 
referred to foreign affairs and international relations in his 
Address. 1 should like to say a few words about them because 
there has been a great deal of criticism of our foreign policy 
from some quarters in this country. It is true that the criticism 
has been on die decline because it is obvious that our foreign 
policy has justified itself. We are told that we have no friends 
in the world. That is a strange misreading of current 
happenings in the rest of the world. I claim that we not only 
have friends but that we are friendly with every country and, 
what is more, these countries regard us with a certain respect. 
It is recognized that we decide for ourselves — sometimes 
not rightly in die opinion of other countries— and that we 
try to pursue the policy we consider right without outside 
interference. I think it would be worth their while, were it 
possible for hon. Members, to tour all the countries and 
find out for themselves how India stands in the eyes of the 
common people of the world. 

I feel sure that they will discover that the common people 
of the world hold India and India’s policy' in high esteem, 
even though sometimes they do not like it or agree with it. 
That is no small achievement for a country just entering the 
international field. Both internationally and nationally, we 
have been through stormy weather and we have tried our 
best to keep on an even keel. Perhaps, we have not been 
quite as dramatic as people believe we should have been 
in our conduct of foreign affairs. Our behaviour as an agita- 



WE DECIDE FOR OURSELVES 


299 


tional party, however justified in its time, would hardly be 
suitable in a chancellery, for instance. However, I do not 
think our policy has changed in any basic sense, although 
adaptations to changing circumstances have been frequent. 

Any official statement on the part of the Government is 
criticized as being flat and stale. It is said that it has no fire or 
force in it. The Address of the President of the great Republic 
of India has got to be dignified and restrained. I hope the 
Government of India speaks and acts in a dignified and 
restrained manner. We must look not at the manner but at 
the content of what is said. The President referred to the 
upheavals in the Middle East, in North Africa and in Western 
Asia and talked of our past and present reactions *o these 
happenings. The manner of his address was calm a d digni- 
fied. This seems to have led some hon. Members and some 
press men to believe that our Government had abandoned 
the firm stand it had taken earlier. I would beg the House 
not to interpret the absence of fire in the President’s Address 
as a sign of change in our policy. At the United Nations, even 
the most powerful countries have often to whittle down their 
policies, especially when the issue in question is a complicated 
one. Let not hon. Members imagine that the Government of 
India can sit on a high perch and deliver homilies to the 
world. Of course, hon. Members do not want us to threaten 
the world with dire consequences if India’s behests are not 
carried out but the policy they advocate amounts to that. 
That India should take charge of the world is, surely, not 
only gross presumption on our part but also inconsistent with 
the way responsible governments function. Although there is 
so much tension in Asia, Africa and Europe, our relations 
with their various countries are cordial in a real sense. That 
is no small achievement. Our relations are friendly with those 
great countries which on another plane appear to be in 
conflict with one another. We have the confidence of these 
countries. We respect their confidence even though we do 
not always agree with all that they do. 

The questions Dr Mookerjee put to the House are 
certainly difficult but that is no reason why there should not 
be absolute frankness in answering them. Of course, we 



JOO JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-195$ 

cannot shout about every governmental activity from the 
house-tops. There are secrets which the Government must 
keep, especially when other countries are concerned. In 
regard to Kashmir, some hon. Members have repeatedly 
said, ‘Withdraw this case from the United Nations or the 
Security Council’ or ‘If you cannot get it by this means, 
adopt other methods’. Let us be clear about what this means. 
How does one withdraw a case? Does one simply send a 
letter to the United Nations saying, ‘We withdraw our case, 
because we have had enough of you’? That would mean 
a complete break with the United Nations. Of course, as an 
independent country, it is open to us to do that and take the 
consequences. We are at the United Nations by voluntary 
choice and not merely by the compulsion of events. The 
Kashmir issue was bound to be put up before the United 
Nations by some other country even if we had not done so. 

We respect the United Nations and are all for a world 
organization dealing with such matters. It is right that we 
should remain a member of the United Nations, even though 
things do not always happen according to our wishes. We 
have made it perfectly clear that we are not willing to 
jeopardize the interests of the people of Kashmir or those of 
our own people. Nobody will be allowed to impose anything 
dishonourable upon us. We have decided to await the verdict 
of the Security Council, however long it may be in coming. 
The way of peace is always the better and, in the long run, 
the shorter way. The way of war is no way at all, for it solves 
nothing. When Dr Mookerjee advises me to “adopt other 
methods’’, he obviously talks of war. The hon. Member 
surely cannot believe that by adopting an aggressive method 
we can solve the problem of Kashmir. His way will solve no 
problem whatever. All it will do is to get us into enormous 
difficulties. We will cause injury to other people and also 
injure ourselves. Everything we have so far stood for will not 
only receive a shock but probably suffer for a whole 
generation. The consequences are not a small matter. We 
have to act and speak in a responsible way when we deal with 
a difficult situation. 

In a military sense, we are weak compared with the great 



WE DECIDE FOR OURSELVES 


301 


countries of the world. We have a fine Army, a fine Navy and 
a small but fine Air Force and I am proud of our defence 
Services. I have met the young men in our Army, Navy and 
Air Force and I can tell this House that they are a very fine 
lot. We have fine human material but we are not essentially 
a military power. It becomes increasingly clear that even the 
greatest military powers are tired of war. The interminable 
truce talks in Korea, for instance, only show that, once these 
great Powers get entangled in methods of war, they find it 
very difficult to extricate themselves. There seems to be a 
realization that armed might affords no adequate solution for 
the problems of the world. It only leads to furth' • conflict 
and disaster. Therefore, it is hardly wise for u . who are 
weak, to talk loosely of “other methods’’ in regard to 
Kashmir. At the moment, Kashmir is maxing remarkable 
progress, economically, socially and politically. If we were 
to rush into a war, we would be putting an end to that 
progress and that w T ould also be a breach of our pledge to (he 
United Nations. No country likes to be accused before the 
world of breaking pledges. 

An hon. Member referred to the recent agitation in 
Jammu and expressed the opinion that the \ iews of the people 
of Jammu should be respected. Their views should certainly 
be respected. But their demand for a closei union with India 
means a complete break-up of Kashmir. '1 he principle by 
which we have stood in regard to Kashmir is that the people 
of Jammu and Kashmir would decide their future themselves. 
We shall not allow any pow r er to decide it by coercion or war. 
If the people of Kashmir as a whole are going to decide it, 
it is necessary to give them an opportunity to do so. If a 
small group in Kashmir wants to coerce others to decide it 
according to their wishes, it is open to them to give expression 
to their wishes in the Constituent Assembly of Kashmir. 

I know a little about the internal conditions in the 
provinces of Jammu and Kashmir. I know of no movement in 
India that is so thoroughly misconceived and mischievous as 
the one mentioned by the hon. Member. 'I he Praja Parishad 
movement in Jammu is completely opposed to the interests 
of Kashmir and Jammu and of India and contradicts 



302 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


everything we stand for. It amazes me that people apparently 
desirous of union with India should work in a way so as to 
injure India, injure Kashmir and to give help to and 
encourage the enemies of India. There must either be some- 
thing wrong with their thinking or they do not mean what 
they say. 

Since the Kashmir trouble began four years ago, many 
changes have taken place in India. They have been due 
partly to migrations of population and partly to other 
developments. These changes have further complicated the 
Kashmir issue. My personal desire is that there should be a 
plebiscite in Kashmir provided proper conditions exist for it. 
I further think that the Constituent Assembly is entitled to 
decide what course should be followed. The elections have 
shown which way the trend is. Naturally, this docs not apply 
to the part of Kashmir State which is still in the hands of 
Pakistan. If the Constituent Assembly comes up against 
difficulties in coming to a decision, a plebiscite should be 
held as early as possible. I have no doubt about what the 
decision of the people will be. I only want to put an end to all 
conflicts in a peaceful way so that no bitterness is left behind. 

When the Security Council passed the resolution, 
according to which Dr Graham was appointed mediator, we 
made it perfectly clear that we neither accepted that resolu- 
tion nor were bound by it on the ground that it contained 
clauses of which we totally disapproved We did not, how- 
ever, object to everything that the resolution contained. 
We repeatedly said that we did not have the slightest 
objection to Dr Graham’s coming to India as a mediator and 
that we would gladly treat him as such. We added, however, 
that we were not prepared to discuss or act up to the resolu- 
tion of the Security Council. We have been consistent in this 
matter. When Dr Graham came here, he did not refer to 
the Security Council’s resolution even once. As far as he was 
concerned, it did not exist. He discussed the various aspects 
of the Kashmir issue in the capacity of a mediator and made 
suggestions; we agreed with some, pointed out our objections 
to others and there the matter ended. He went back and 
presented a factual report on Kashmir. Then there were 



WE DECIDE FOR OURSELVES 


303 


further developments and we sent our representatives. In the 
course of the discussions that followed, the military advisers 
of Dr Graham showed our military advisers a certain plan 
which later came to be known as the Dever’s Plan. The plan 
represented some kind of an intermediate stage. There was 
much in it to which we had no objection. We were prepared 
to- discuss it and to suggest improvements. Dr Graham h imself 
did not press the plan forward and there was no further 
discussion. Long afterwards, a paper was published by the 
UN Secretariat containing a much more detailed version of 
the Dever’s Plan than we were acquainted with. Naturally, 
we referred this matter to our representatives at the United 
Nations. They knew nothing about it and so we asked our 
representative, Sri B. N. Rau, who happened to be in Delhi 
at the time. He had seen only that part of it which was 
originally shown to our representatives. That was published 
by UNO as an appendix to Dr Graham’s Second Report to 
the Security Council and is there for any one to see. When 
our Military Adviser, General Thimayya, said that he also 
had never seen the later version of the De\er’s Plan, it 
became clear to us that the addendum had not been shown 
to us. Dr Graham, not being a direct party to these talks, did 
not know much about it and might have made a mistake. 
Anyhow, this is what happened. 

The Security Council has again allotted a definite period 
of time to Dr Graham in which he is to continue his talks and 
attempt to find a solution. In accordance with our policy of 
welcoming any further attempts at a peaceful settlement, we 
have no objection to Dr Graham’s coming. It is understand- 
able that hon. Members of this House should be irritated at 
the prolongation of this business. It must be as annoying to 
them as the continuance of the Portuguese and French 
possessions in India, which are irritating little footholds 
constantly coming in our way. Anyway, our policy in their 
case has likewise been one of patience and of peace. Why 
should we create trouble for ourselves by trying to expedite 
their inevitable withdrawal by other methods? 

I should really have liked to draw the attention of this 
House to some aspects of constructive activity in the country. 



504 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1955 


I feel that not enough attention is paid to them. When some- 
thing of this kind happens in other countries, the gigantic 
machinery of propaganda is set in motion. Everybody talks 
of the progress the country is making. In our country, even 
though the building is on a much larger scale than in other 
countries, our own constructive work comes up for discussion 
only when some criticism is made about the amount of money 
spent on it. Of course, it is perfectly right that this House 
should carefully keep a check on expenditure but I should 
also like this House to realize that India is showing magni- 
ficent enterprise. We are going ahead with our great river 
valley schemes and building industries, such as the great Sindri ' 
fertilizer factory. 

I want to call the attention of the House to the tremen- 
dous difficulties and strains under which the building of a 
new India is taking place. Consider the Chittaranjan Loco- 
motive Works which has expanded greatly and is producing 
locomotives. Take the Hindustan aircraft factory and so many 
other things. We have built magnificent national laboratories 
which are producing very fine results besides laying the 
foundations of our future progress. It is a long list but I would 
like to acquaint the House and the country with it. Somehow, 
our minds seem to concentrate only on negative aspects. We 
should certainly be critical but we must also acknowledge 
our achievements. 

It is said that comparisons are bad — and certainly as 
Foreign Minister I do not like to compare my country with 
another country — but it would be interesting, were we to 
compare the past three or four years in this country with a 
similar period in the other countries of Asia as well as Europe 
and America. Consider the circumstances in which we have 
functioned. There was the aftermath of independence, the 
partition and large migrations. Considering all this, what 
we have achieved in our foreign policy, our domestic policy 
and in laying the foundations of a new political structure 
stands comparison with any other country. I do not mean 
to say that we are superior to other countries. That kind of 
vainglorious approach is wrong. If only we can meet corrup- 
tion and black-marketing with the severest measures possible. 



THE LARGER SCHEME OF THINGS 


S05 


you will find that we have done rather well; in fact, much 
better than most countries. I think you will come to the 
conclusion that we as a parliament, we as a government, we as 
a people can hold up our heads high before the world. 


THE LARGER SCHEME OF THINGS 

S ince yesterday we have been discussing our foreign policy 
and many aspects of it have been mentioned. We have 
discussed the Foreign Service, the virtues and failings o’ our 
diplomatic personnel, the money we spend and the waste we 
indulge in or avoid. We have discussed other matters, too. 

As I listened to the speeches that were made today, I 
became aware of the whole tormented world. When we talk 
about foreign policy, after all, it is the world or bits of the 
world that we talk about. It seems to me that the world has 
hung on the edge of a catastrophe for years. People talk of 
the success of our foreign policy. How they measure success 
and how they wish to achieve success in Ceylon or Goa, I do 
not know. People have said that the policy of our Government 
has not yielded success, that it has driven us into this or that 
camp and that the problems in Kashmir and elsewhere still 
remain unsolved. There has been criticism of our policy but 
I have waited in vain these two days for one concrete and 
positive suggestion about what can be done in addition to 
what is already being done. 

• Brave words? yes; forensic eloquence? yes; melodrama? 
yes; but* no constructive suggestion! In the world today, 
there are problems wherever you go, be it Korea, Iran, 
Egypt, Tunisia, America or Germany. And every problem 
is an unsolved one, because every problem has to do with the 
entire world situation in all its complexity. The world 
situation may, of course, take a turn for the better sometimes 
but as a whole it presents a very tragic aspect. I do not claim 
that our policy has always been successful but I wish this 

Speech in reply to debate on Foreign Affairs in the House ol the People, 
New Delhi, June 12. 1952 



306 


JAWAHARI.AL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


House would realize that the present issue concerns some of 
the most tremendous problems of the age and is not merely 
a matter for debate or eloquence. To have to consider and 
face these problems and to decide what is to be done about 
them is a tremendous responsibility for any government, 
individual or parliament. It would be sheer arrogance for 
us to imagine that India, great as she is, can decide the fate 
of the world. Of course, not. It may well be, however, that 
India’s help in coming to a decision may make a difference 
and that difference may come between war and peace. If 
we can tilt the balance towards peace, it will be a great 
service to the world. 

I approach these problems in all humility. Hon. Members 
have said that my whims and caprices sometimes fashion our 
foreign policy. How they refer to me is of no consequence but 
when they refer to the policy of this great nation as the whim 
and caprice of an indi\ idual, whoever he might be, it is not 
a small matter. Our policy, as I have repeatedly said, has 
grown out of our past way of thinking and our declarations 
and I do claim that, in so far as we could in the changed 
circumstances, we have stuck to those declarations and ways 
of thinking. Hon. Members who think otherwise are com- 
pletely mistaken. Of course, I cannot judge myself but, as 
far as I can see, we have upheld everything we stood for in 
the realm of international affairs without the slightest 
wavering or deviation. 

Of course, I may be wrong; others may be better judges 
but I personally feel sure that it is so. I wish to stand behind 
everything I have uttered about our remaining in the 
Commonwealth and those who express doubts about it do 
not understand what they are saying. It amazes me how 
some hon. Members of the Opposition with all their elo- 
quence and their fine qualities have lost all ability to under- 
stand the changed position. They are like religious 
fundamentalists who refuse to look right or left and go only 
in one direction. The whole world may change but their 
mental habits do not. Whether it is morning, noon or night 
matters little to them. They continue to repeat the same 
slogan, no matter what happens. 



THE LARGER SCHEME OF THINGS 


S07 


Of course, we all want peace. The great nations and the 
various power blocs all talk of peace; and yet peace is 
considered a dangerous word in some great countries. One’s 
loyalty is doubted if one so much as mentions peace. On the 
other hand, there are countries where peace is talked of so 
aggressively and in such deafening tones that it almost sounds 
•like war. After all, peace is a quality, it is a way of approach; 
it is a way of doing things; it is an objective we want to reach. 
If you prepare for war while you talk of peace, then surely, 
there is something wrong with the peace you talk about! 
We have plenty of peace conferences nowadays but I doubt 
if anything will come of them. Perhaps, some hon. V embers 
have seen an advertisement in England: ‘Join th- British 
Navy and see the world.’ We might just as well say: Join the 
peace movement and have free trips all o\ er the world.’ 
There are conferences all the time and people are rushing 
back and forth, free of charge. I do not know who pays for 
them. People travel, go to the ends of the earth and suffer 
extreme discomfort, all for the sake of peace. I do not under- 
stand this. I do not think it is dignified for people, whatever 
their nationality, to rush about at the cost of other countries 
and people. Surely, you are not going to have peace by 
merely shouting about peace in the market square, knocking 
heads and wanting to punish those who differ from you. 

Surely, it is necessary for us to function as a mature 
nation. We are not children; we are not in a debating society 
where we have to match our forensic skill against one another, 
regardless of facts and the effect our words are likely to have. 
It is very easy to talk against imperialism as some hon. 
Members did. I do not deny that imperialism exists but I 
would venture to say that imperialism, as it exists today, is 
hardly what it was in the past. Let hon. Members understand 
what it is. Let them also understand that there are other 
imperialisms that are growing. Surely, no one in this House 
can say that British imperialism, for instance, is the same 
thing that it was in the past. An hon. Member mentioned 
Malaya in this connection. British imperialism does flourish 
in Malaya, in Africa and elsewhere but British imperialism 
today is an exhausted thing. I hope this House has respect for 



308 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


the way England has tackled her problems since the war and 
the courage with which she has faced them. In many places, 
England certainly does things with which neither I nor this 
House can agree but that is beside the point. Let us see things 
in their historical perspective. As far as power is concerned, 
Britain is no longer what she used to be before the last war. 
Today, there are, for good or ill, other and greater Powers. I 
repeat that since the war years I have nurtured considerable 
respect for England, because I like brave people fighting 
against odds and the British people have fought against heavy 
odds. That does not, however, mean that I agree with 
whatever England says or does. 

There are still some colonies that belong to certain 
Powers. 1 have no doubt that an end should be put to them all, 
be they British, French, Dutch, Belgian or any other. The 
fact, however, remains that today none of the colonial 
powers have any strength behind them. The colonies perhaps 
have the strength of tradition and they have been supported 
by other powers. But, as I said, they have no inherent strength 
now. Let us by all means ptxt an end to what remains of 
colonialism in Asia, in Africa and wherever else it exists but 
let us understand what the real conflict is about. Conflicting 
forces are marshalling themselves and if they come to grips 
then the whole world will witness mighty changes and these 
changes cannot be for the better, because they will cause 
terrible destruction. It does not help in the slightest to repeat 
the slogans of yesterday, thinking that they take the place of 
thought and action. Ours is a complicated, difficult and 
tormented world. We must not approach our problems with 
any certitude of success but with a great deal of humility and 
try to help where we can. Our aim should be to be helpful, 
to do good, or at any rate, to avoid evil. 

It is all very well to talk bravely but melodrama does not 
become this honourable House. We are the Parliament of 
India and have to face great problems; we cannot afford to 
adopt melodramatic attitudes and repeat the slogans of the 
market place here. We are entrusted with a tremendous res- 
ponsibility. I beg this House not to consider our foreign policy 
in terms merely of our own petty success or failure because 



THE LARGER SCHEME OF THINGS 


509 


the success or failure of any foreign policy today involves the 
success or failure of the whole world. If and when disaster 
conies it will affect the world as a whole and, therefore, it 
hardly matters what your policy or my policy is. Be that as 
it may, our first effort should be to prevent that disaster from 
happening. If that proves to be beyond us, we must, at any 
rate, try to avoid disaster or to retain a position in which we 
shall be able to minimize, as much as possible, the 
consequences of disaster, even if it comes. 

I want to be perfectly frank with this House. I should like 
an ever-increasing number of countries in the world t<- decide 
that they will not have another war, whatever happens. I 
should like the countries in Asia — I speak about our neigh- 
bours — and other countries also to make it dear to those 
warring factions and those great count] ics that are so 
explosively bitter against each other that they themselves 
will remain cool and not enter the arena of warfare whatever 
happens and that they will try at least to restrict the area of 
conflict, save their own regions and try to save the rest as 
best they can. I should also like to declare that we are against 
the use of these horrible modern weapons of war and get 
other countries to do the same. You have heard of the atom 
bomb and of the hydrogen bomb which is yet to come. The 
latter is believed to be far worse than the atom bomb. From 
the way hon. Members talked about bacteriological warfare 
I got the impression that they expect this Government to 
rush in everywhere and express its opinions without taking 
the trouble to find out exactly what should be said, when it 
should be said or how much weight should be attached to 
what is said. I am afraid governments do not function in 
that way. Governments have to weigh their words and every 
bit of evidence on which a statement is based. Governments 
cannot condemn people or nations until they are absolutely 
convinced that what they say is justified. Governments cannot 
even say something on the basis of adequate evidence until 
the proper moment comes. I might add, however, that I 
think all nations should raise their voices against any form 
of bacteriological or germ warfare. 

Clearly, it is not an easy matter to check this drift towards 

21—11 DTD/6S 



S10 JAWAHARI.AL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 

catastrophe and disaster. The world is in a ferment of passion 
and prejudice and I am certain it will do little good to join 
the crowd of excited people who are shouting at the top of 
their voices. That will only make things worse. If you are 
shouting, it does not matter that it is peace you are shouting 
about. Your job is to try and make people less excited 
somehow. Your object is not merely to show that you were 
right or to prove the strength of your convictions but to gain 
ultimate results. For this, it is necessary to calm people down, 
to prevent them from fighting and then to set about winning 
them over. Even though they are in the wrong, you cannot 
win them over if you tell them that they are bad, very bad 
and that they should be punished and crushed. I do not mean 
that we should not condemn what we feel to be wrong but, 
according to what I have been taught about civilized 
behaviour, it is far better to know our own weaknesses and 
failings than to point out those of others. 

I submit that this is my approach to foreign policy. You 
may call it neutral or whatever else you like but I, for my 
part, fail to see how this approach is neutral. Neutrality as a 
policy has little meaning except in times of war. If you think 
there is a war on today, we are neutral. If you think there is 
a cold war today, we are certainly neutral. We are not going 
to participate in a cold war which, I think, is worse than a 
shooting war in many ways. A shooting war is, of course, very 
disastrous but a cold war is worse in the sense that it is more 
degrading. It does not matter who is right and who is wrong 
but we shall certainly not join in this exhibition of mutual 
abuse. 

Many subjects have come up for discussion in the course 
of this debate but there are one or two points I would 
especially like to put before this House. It has repeatedly been 
said that we incline more and more towards the Anglo- 
American bloc. It is perfectly true that during the last few 
years we have had more economic and other bonds with the 
United Kingdom and the United States of America than with 
other countries. That is a situation we have inherited and 
unless we develop new bonds we shall have to continue as 
we are doing. We maintained our old ties with these countries 



the larger scheme of things 


Sll 


because a nation cannot live in isolation. We wanted certain 
things that we could not get from elsewhere. In similar 
circumstances, any country would have acted as we did. 
That some people obsessed by passion and prejudice dis- 
approve of our relations with the Anglo-American bloc is 
not sufficient reason for us to break any bond which is of 
advantage to us. 

I cannot deny that there is danger and risk when a 
country begins to depend upon another. Whatever the form 
it takes, dependence is always bad and one should be on 
one’s guard against it. Yet a country placed as India is today, 
has inevitably to depend on other countries for ceitain 
essential things. We are not industrialized enough to pr oduce 
all that we need. We have to depend on other counti’es for 
most of the things our Army or our Air Force or our Navy 
requires and are, therefore, dependent. However big your 
army, it is of little use unless you have the necessary equip- 
ment. Of course, we must try to build up basic industries so 
that we can produce things for our essential needs but what 
are we to do in the meanwhile? We have got to get them 
from somewhere and we have tried to get them from those 
countries where our existing economic contacts made it 
easier for us to do so. It is very difficult for us to build new 
channels of trade and commerce overnight. We are perfectly 
prepared to explore these possibilities; for instance, we are 
perfectly prepared to deal with the Soviet Union or any other 
country that can supply us with the particular goods we need. 
But the fact remains that at the moments it is simpler and 
easier for us to import things from America, England, France 
and other countries. 

I should like to give you the example of our defence 
Services. They have been built up after a certain model and 
w T e have, as it were, inherited them. We may or may not 
change that model later. It is a satisfactory model as far as it 
goes, because our defence Services are efficient and our 
Army is good. It is, of course, organized after the British 
model. They started it and built it up over a large number 
of years. Surely, you do not expect us to break it up and 
start afresh. I can understand the argument that our Army 



312 JAWAHARI.AI. NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 

should come closer to the people. Let us, by all means, 
consider it and explore the possibilities; but to wish to break 
up a magnificent fighting unit, simply because it irks us that 
the British built it, is to my mind extremely childish. We 
cannot suddenly disrupt our defence Services. What we can 
do is to make the changes we desire gradually. Now, an army 
has to have equipment and it is easier for us to continue to 
get the kind of equipment we have been using, because 
there are sources which can supply it. If we try to invent an 
entirely new type of equipment, the arms we are producing 
in this country now will be rendered useless and that will 
create all kinds of difficulties. 

An hon. Member asked why our advisers are British and 
not of German or Japanese or some other nationality. Well, 
things are being done in a particular way and the most 
important thing is that there should be no breakdown in the 
organizational machinery of our defence. We cannot have 
advisers, who think along different lines, who use different 
equipment and different types of ammunition, coming here 
and quarrelling amongst themselves while they advise us. 
We must follow a single system till we decide to change it. 

The House will remember that we attained independence 
through co-operation and friendship. I think history will 
record that to our credit and, I am not ashamed to say, to 
England’s credit, too. Having achieved our goal we went 
forward step by step. The House will remember that for the 
first two years while we were framing our Constitution, we 
were a Dominion. However, on the very first day our 
Constituent Assembly met, we declared that our object was 
to become a republic. That was in the December of 1946. 
As soon as our Constitution was completed and given effect 
to, we became the Republic of India. Later, the question of 
whether or not we should be in the Commonwealth came 
up. The Republic of India has nothing to do with England 
constitutionally or legally. Of course, there are the normal 
bonds that exist between two countries that have had mutual 
dealings in the economic or cultural sphere. If we decide to 
remain associated with England or with a particular group 
of nations, there is no harm, provided no binding factor 



THE LARGER SCHEME OF THINGS SIS 

or inhibition accompanies that association. Dr Mookerjee, 
who was himself in the Cabinet when these questions were 
considered, said that the time had come for us to leave the 
Commonwealth. I should like him to point out in what way 
the fact of our being associated with the Commonwealth has 
affected or diverted our policy during the last three or four 
years'. I 'do not think our membership of the Commonwealth 
has affected our policy in the slightest. To insist that it has, 
therefore, amounts, so far as 1 am concerned, to acting in a 
huff. Nations must act with dignity and strength, adopt what 
they consider the right course and adhere to it. It is open to 
us to be associated in an alliance with any country. We ‘uve 
avoided alliances which might entangle us. Dr I anka 
Sundaram referred to a number of treaties of friendship which 
we had concluded and to some minor differences in their 
phraseology. 1 hope hon. Members will excuse me if I do not 
go into these trivial points, because they have no importance 
whatsoever. So far as we are concerned, we arc prepared to 
enter into a treaty of friendship with every country in the 
world. In an alliance, one invariably takes something and 
gives something in return. Each country binds itself down to 
a certain extent and relinquishes its freedom of action to the 
extent to which it commits itself in the alliance or agreement. 
An alliance, nevertheless, need not stand in the way of the 
independence of a country. 

Our association with the Commonwealth is remarkable 
in that it does not bind us down in any way whatsoever and, 
if I may repeat, it has not done so during the last two or 
three years either. It has given us certain advantages without 
our having to accept any liabilities in return. I know that 
some hon. Members do not like the idea of our being in the 
Commonwealth. Their dislike is regrettable and I cannot 
help it, since we are concerned only with the advantages our 
country gains. Now, Ceylon and South Africa are both 
members of the Commonwealth and we may well be asked 
why we put up with what is happening in these countries. 
If any hon. Members want us to withdraw from the 
Commonwealth on principle, my answer would be that 
what they object to is precisely the reason why we should 



S14 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1955 


remain in the Commonwealth. I shall explain what I mean. 
By doing so, we have better chances of being able to influence 
the larger policies of the Commonwealth than we otherwise 
would. Being in the Commonwealth means a meeting once 
or twice a year and occasional consultations and references. 
Surely, that is not too great a price to pay for the advantages 
we get. If the Commonwealth had the right to interfere with 
any constituent country, then I should certainly cease to be 
in the Commonwealth. If any hon. Members think that the 
nations of the Commonwealth have common war or defence 
policies, allow me to assure them that they arc completely 
mistaken. We have never discussed defence policies in the 
Commonwealth, either jointly or separately. 

Since an hon. Member asked why our Commander-in- 
Chief should have had to go to London, I shall repeat that 
our Army is built on the British model. We have a very big 
department in London for military stores. We have to main- 
tain it because we need the type of things it supplies; we have 
sometimes to get them through the good offices of the British 
War Office. Our Commander-in-Chicf has, therefore, to go 
there in order to look into these things. It is not the business 
of our commanders to discuss policies; that is left to the 
Ministers. The fact is that we have inherited certain ways 
from the British. We can decide cither to reject them or to 
accept them. We have rejected many; we have also decided 
to keep many till we are able to change them if we so desire. 

Now, one of the things we have inherited and to the use 
of which hon. Members opposite have not objected is the 
English language. There has been no word of protest from 
the Opposition against the use of the English language and 
that, if 1 may say so, is also a sign of the mental subservience 
about which we are reminded so often. I have no doubt that 
it is the English language more than anything else that ties 
us to the Anglo-American bloc and yet I have not heard it 
cited as a reason for our so-called subservience to the Anglo- 
American bloc. It brings us nearer to their thoughts, their 
activities, their books, newspapers, cultural standards and 
so on, whereas we are cut off from those parts of the world 
with which we have no linguistic ties. I should like our 



THE LARGER SCHEME OF THINGS 


315 


country to know the other languages of the world besides 
developing their own so that we may grow and come in 
contact with more people of the world. It is strange that 
some hon. Members should object even to the things that are 
advantageous to us, simply because they happen to emanate 
from America or England or some other country in the 
West, while they accept, without any protest whatsoever, the 
English language which is our greatest bond with the Anglo- 
American bloc. I certainly do not have any objection to the 
use of the English language and am not saying anything 
against it. My argument is that it is not sensible deliberately 
to lose a good thing just because we have inherited it from the 
British. It is true that we have decided ultimately to use our 
own language in the country and we shall make die change 
gradually. I hope English will remain even aftci that, not as 
an official language but because it is a great language. I hope 
the other languages of the world will also be introduced in 
India but the relevant thing at this moment i» that, if we 
adopt an attitude of suspicion towards everything that comes 
from England or America, it will not help anybody. 

We have often expressed ourselves in a way that 
displeased the great nations and filled them with anger; but 
we have preferred that to changing our policy. Recent history 
will testify as to how readily some great nations have shifted 
their allegiance and how they have had alliances; enemies 
have come together as allies and then become enemies again. 
In the last World War, the Soviet Union was allied to Nazi 
Germany; it was later attacked by Nazi Germany and it 
fought Hitler’s armies with enormous endurance and 
courage. I am not condemning any country; I am merely 
pointing out that, at that time, the rulers of the Soviet Union 
thought it right and desirable to have a close alliance with a 
country which they had condemned earlier and with which 
they were to fight to the death later. 

I believe all of us are liable to error and I rebel against 
the notion that an organization or idea or country can be 
infallible. Such a belief may )ield temporary results but 
ultimately it is fatal to the growth of a nation; it curbs the 
mind and spirit and stunts the community. Therefore, it is 



S16 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 

folly to judge the present day difficulties of the world with 
the assumption that a country is either completely right or 
completely wrong. We must consider each point separately 
and refrain from the vilification of any country, because it 
does not help. When the situation demands it, let us by all 
means point out that a policy is wrong or that something else 
should be done; but merely slandering other countries will 
not create the peaceful atmosphere we desire. 

1 submit again that, so far as our policy is concerned, in 
spite of the fact that we deal largely with the United Kingdom 
and the U.S.A., — wc buy our things from them and we have 
accepted help from them — we have not swerved at all from 
our policy of non-alignment with any group. We stuck to 
our policy even though wc had to deny ourselves the offered 
help. That is why other countries realize that we cannot be 
bought by money. It was then that help came to us and we 
gladly accepted it; we shall continue to accept help provided 
there are no strings attached to it and provided our policy 
is perfectly clear and above board and is not affected by the 
help we accept. I realize — I frankly admit — that there are 
always certain risks involved. There may be no apparent 
risk but our sense of obligation might affect our policy 
without our knowing it. All I can say is that we should remain 
wide awake and try to pursue our policy consistently and 
honestly. If the Government makes a mistake, this House, 
I am sure, will demand an explanation. 

There have been times when one word from us would 
have brought us many of the good things of life. We preferred 
not to give that word. Not a few individuals but millions in 
this country. If at any time help from abroad depends upon 
a variation, howsoever slight, in our policy, we shall relin- 
quish that help completely and prefer starvation and 
privation to taking such help; and, I think, the world knows 
it well enough. 

Dr Lanka Sundaram asked tvhether the Standing 
Committee of the Ministry of External Affairs was going to 
be constituted. Well, Standing Committees were constituted 
in the old British days in a peculiar way and for a special 
purpose. They serve no useful purpose now. Therefore, I do 



THE LARGER SCHEME OF THINGS 


S17 


not know if one will be appointed. That is a matter for the 
House to decide. I should like, however, to assure this House 
and, specially the Opposition, that as Minister for Foreign 
Affairs I shall welcome consultations with them about any 
matter pertaining to foreign affairs. 

We have associated ourselves with the United Nations. 
This association does not deprive us of our independence. 
Of course, it limits our freedom in the sense in which it limits 
the freedom of every member country. That some limit 
should be placed on your field of action is the natural conse- 
quence of joining an organization of that nature. Our 
membership of the United Nations is a fai greater limitation 
than our association with the Commonwealth of Nations. 
In fact, the latter is almost an airy association, because it 
is not written down on paper or in any constitut.on or 
anywhere else; so long as we wish to be there, we can remain 
there. 

To come back to the United Nations, *vc associated 
ourselves with the United Nations because wc felt that some 
such world organization was very essential. The League of 
Nations had failed. The UNO seemed to be a similar attempt 
under wider and perhaps better auspices and so we joined it. 
I still think that the Charter of the United Nations is a very 
fine and noble document. An lion. Member said, “Go and 
scrap the Charter.’’ I do not understand what he meant. 
I think the Charter is a very fine thing but it is true that the 
world is not living up to it. I feel more and more that the 
United Nations has somehow swerved from the basic provi- 
sions of that Charter, in theory as well as in practice. 
I think that is a very serious matter for us and for other 
countries. 

The Atlantic Pact is between certain Western Atlantic 
countries. What other countries do for their defence is not 
my concern. As a government, we do not come into the 
picture; nor can we object to anything that they do. One 
thing about the Atlantic Pact, however, has become more 
and more evident. It began as a pact for defence against 
aggression but it has apparently widened its scope and taken 
upon itself the defence of the colonial possessions of the 



S18 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


nations concerned. That, so far as we are concerned, is a very 
serious matter. It means that certain countries must give 
assurances, whether formal or informal, that they will protect 
and maintain colonial rule wherever it exists. We are, as 
you know, unalterably opposed to colonial rule wherever it 
exists. 

So, I wish to point out to the hon. Members of this 
House that we have taken as serious a view of this as we did 
of the Security Council’s refusal to discuss the Tunisian 
question. Apart from the merits of the Tunisian question 
itself, which should, in any case, be settled, nearly every 
country in Asia and many countries in Africa are wanting a 
consideration of the Tunisian issue. This is being denied, 
because two powerful countries have voted against it. That 
is a very extraordinary state of affairs. If Asia and Africa 
together cannot get a subject discussed in the Security 
Council, because two or three great Powers object to it, 
then a time may come when the countries of Asia and Africa 
may feel that they are better off outside than at the United 
Nations. That would, indeed, be tragic because I do feel that, 
in spite of its faults, the United Nations serves an essential 
purpose. If it did not exist today, undoubtedly, all the 
countries would come together to build up something like 
it again. I do not want that to happen. I attach the greatest 
importance to the United Nations but I must repeat that the 
United Nations has swerved from its original moorings and 
gradually become a protector of colonialism in an indirect 
way. This is a dangerous deviation. Instead of looking upon 
it as a great organization for peace, some of its members 
have gradually begun to think of it as an organization 
through which war can be waged. The original idea behind 
the formation of the United Nations was vastly different and. 
though the old Charter remains, somehow facts begin to 
belie it more and more. We have ventured to point this out 
to the member countries of the United Nations and I think 
that our words have had some effect. 

We are a responsible Government dealing with other 
Governments and if we shout about our opinions in public 
the effect of our approach is lost. That is not the way modern 



THE LARGER SCHEME OF THINGS 


S19 


diplomacy is carried on. Because we do not shout, the 
hon. Members opposite must not think that we arc supine. 

Hon. Members have referred to the fact that the Union 
Jack was hoisted over the Parliament building some days 
ago. Some two or three years ago, this matter was discussed 
and we decided that as a matter of courtesy, we would 
ailow the Union Jack to be hoisted over one of our important 
official buildings on a certain day in the year. This decision 
was not the result of a request but simply a matter of courtesy. 
At that time, there was no question of flying the flag on 
Parliament House, since Parliament was not sitting. I must 
confess that when I saw the flag on Parliament House, ' was 
myself a little surprised because I had expected it to be on 
the Secretariat building instead. It seems that the instruc- 
tions given two years ago were not properly understood by 
the person in charge and hence the mistake. While it is 
perfectly right for us to show courtesy, I do feel that no flag 
but the Indian flag should be flown over Parliament House 
and instructions have been issued to that effect. 

I should also like to say one word about the situation in 
Korea. 1 am not, at the moment, referring to the truce 
negotiations which have gone on for such a long time, al- 
though they arc exceedingly important and one might say 
that the future, not only of the Far East but of the world, 
depends on what turn these negotiations take. It is, indeed, 
a pity that we should be stuck there month after month and 
year after year. So far as we are concerned, we are not com- 
pletel) out of the picture, because we have tried to keep 
in touch with the major parties in the dispute. We had 
special opportunities of doing so. We interested ourselves 
in this affair in the hope that some way of bringing about 
peace might, perhaps, be found. I must say, however, that I 
hate been deeply concerned at certain internal developments 
in South Korea. We have nothing to do with South Korea. 
We have never recognized the Government of South Korea 
and it is not our concern. Nevertheless, because we arc 
members of the United Nations and the United Nations is 
functioning in South Korea, what happens there is a matter 
of concern to us. The recent developments connected with 



320 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


the activities of President Syngman Rhee are not only very 
remarkable but, I think, should make the United Nations and 
every country connected with it think of the undesirability 
of any kind of association with a person like President Rhee. 
To support the regime of President Rhee is to support the 
very things which the United Nations is supposed to stand 
against. 


DEFINING FOREIGN POLICY 

T must first of all apologize to this House for not being able to 
attend this debate in person. We, in the Government, have 
sometimes to attend to the business of two Houses and when 
something is before the two Houses simultaneously, it adds to 
the difficulty. I have tried, with the help of my colleague 
here, to keep in touch with the trend of the debate and have 
read reports of some of the speeches made here. Both here and 
in the other House, it is my business and duty to listen very 
carefully to the criticism that is made and to the suggestions 
that are offered. It is my desire to learn from them and to 
accept them where possible. 

The public and sometimes the press have criticized the 
President’s Address as a mere repetition of the policies of the 
Government. The President is not going to launch a new 
policy in the country and, therefore, his address is bound to 
be a repetition of our policy. It gives or purports to give a 
broad survey of foreign and domestic affairs and does so in 
language that becomes him as the head of the State. 

Every government should have an integrated outlook 
consistent with its foreign and domestic policy. However, it 
is not particularly easy to have an integrated outlook because 
many unknown factors have to be dealt with. We are not in 
charge of the world and the other countries do not necessarily 
carry out our dictates or follow our wishes. We have to take 

Speech during debate on the President's Address in the Council of States 
New Delhi, February 16, 1953 




Returning to Gangtok in Sikkim ajter a 
ride on the India-Tibet road , May 1952 




lnauf’uraliwi th diigmz of a canal al 
Hajalpw m lllai Piadish, Ipril 1951 







DEFINING FOREIGN POLICY 


321 


things as they are and they are, I assure you, in a very 
difficult state. Vast changes are taking place; the whole 
world is in turmoil. Some countries are actually engaged in 
war; the rest live in constant fear of war and suffer the havoc 
fear brings with it. Enormous technological changes take 
place, from day to day although they do not always come to 
our notice. The entire economic and social structure of the 
world is being changed by them. They change the structure 
of society and the thinking of man. Therefore, it may be that 
a policy which was good for us yesterday is not good today. 
A policy which was idealistic and advanced in the 19th 
century may be out of date today. All of us have been heiled 
suddenly into the middle of the 20th centurv. irrespective 
of whether we wished it or not; but our minds lag beh>nd in 
the remote past. Even economic and social problems are 
discussed in terms of the past, although the enormous changes 
that have taken place as a result of the last two great World 
Wars are obvious enough. At the end of the last war, we saw 
two mighty giants rise among the nations — the United 
States of America and the Soviet Union. Other countries 
are far behind them in terms of power and technological 
growth. This situation has upset all the old balances. There- 
fore, all theories and policies based on the old balances are 
of little use today. Yet, I find people still talking in old terms 
without realizing or appreciating that nothing in the world 
of today can remain static. 

The situation in the Far East is also completely different 
from what it was in the past. I merely mention this to point 
out to you that we must be alert about the changing condi- 
tions. It is true that we must have principles; we must have 
ideals and objectives. But that is not enough. The application, 
the implementation and the working of our principles and 
ideals depend, to a large extent, on external circumstances. 
Those circumstances are hardly ever wholly in our control. 
We have to accept things as they are. 

I have no doubt that every one here would like to build a 
new world according to his heart’s desire. Similarly, we also 
aim to go in a particular direction but it is not always pos- 
sible, because we cannot ignore certain factors, much less in 



922 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


a democratic society. Of course, rapid changes consistent 
with the aims of a government can be brought about in a 
country even though the wishes of considerable numbers of 
people have to be disregarded; but such a thing is conceivable 
only in a particular type of political and economic set-up 
where one group wields supreme power. We, for instance, 
cannot ignore large groups. Sometimes the majority has its 
way, as it should. When hon. Members accuse us of com- 
placency — even of smugness — I feel that they have little 
understanding of how my mind or that of my colleagues 
functions. Even if we were so foolish as to be complacent, the 
circumstances we have to face every day make it impossible 
for those of us who are in responsible positions to be 
complacent. 

I cannot speak for those who are responsible for the 
government of other countries but I can certainly speak for 
my colleagues and for myself. I want to tell you that we 
approach our problems in all humility of spirit and with 
feelings utterly devoid of complacency and smugness. We 
feel that, however small we might be as men, our problems, 
those of our country and those of the world, are big. We 
must approach them with all the wisdom we possess and with 
such experience as we have. Although we have to advance 
step by step, we must constantly be on the alert so that we 
can change our step wherever necessary. We must always 
take counsel with others and never forget to maintain our 
spirit of humility. 

I am anxious to seek help and guidance in every impor- 
tant matter that comes up before this House. Apart from such 
knowledge as we may have of world history, most of us have 
been conditioned by India’s national movement and have a 
common background of thought and a common approach to 
problems. Many of us, thus conditioned, subsequently took 
different paths and they were entitled to do this. It was not 
necessary that all of us should have thought alike. Our 
understanding of problems — ours as well as those of the 
world — is necessarily influenced by our background which 
we have to adapt to new conditions as they develop. Having 
once been part of the nationalist movement, we cannot 



DEFINING FOREIGN POLICY 


S2S 


possibly think of functioning negatively. Of course, negation 
inevitably had its place during our fight for freedom but now 
that we are building India anew, it is imperative that we 
function positively. 

Hon. Members of the Opposition will realize that positive 
functioning is more difficult because one wrong move can 
expose the country to danger. Independence has meant 
added responsibility. Besides our own, we have to try and 
help solve the problems of the world. Not that we wanted to 
interfere with the affairs of other countries but in the present 
circumstances it cannot be avoided. A multitude of political, 
economic and social issues demand consideration in inir 
own country. Large numbers of these problems had been 
overlooked for generations but when foreign rule was 
removed, new problems were added to the old ones and we 
are supposed to solve the whole lot of them at once. I want 
you to remember that it is not possible to consider our 
troubles in a vacuum; nor is it easy to decide what is right 
and what is wrong; e\en more difficult is the pi oper appli- 
cation of what one considers right in principle. In order to 
do that one must have full control over the situation in the 
country, if not, indeed, in the world. 

Our foreign policy has been ci incized from various points 
of view. The most common criticism is that it is not a policy 
at all because it is too vague. Some hon. Members believe 
that we are tied up with the Anglo-American bloc because 
we expect help from it. Others talk fiequently of building up 
a ‘third force’ or ‘third bloc’. An hon. Member wants us — he 
says so — to align ourselves with the rival bloc. It is not that 
he is against an alignment as such but he would rather that 
we had ties with the other bloc. According to the general 
consensus of opinion in this country, we should follow a 
policy independent of this or that bloc. You may, of course, 
sympathize with one or the other; that is quite another thing. 
To become part of a power bloc means giving up the right 
to have a policy of our own and following that of somebody 
else. Surely, that is not the kind of future any self-respecting 
person would like to envisage for our great country. I am 
not saying that we should not co-operate with others or 



324 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 

consult them but at the same time we must follow an inde- 
pendent policy. It is perfectly true that no country can 
function in a vacuum. To achieve anything, it has to take the 
rest of the world into account and then decide upon its 
course of action. Although our foreign policy is a continuation 
of the stand we took during our struggle for independence, 
we are, sometimes, constrained tp vary it according to 
circumstances. 

A country’s foreign policy is really a collection of different 
policies, though they have a common basic outlook. When 
we deal with America or England or Russia or Japan or 
China or Egypt or Indonesia, we have to deal with the 
peculiar circumstances that obtain in the country’ concerned 
as well as with those in each of the rest. No single broad rule 
can apply in every case, because the nature of our relation- 
ship varies with each country. The only rule we can lay down 
is that we shall try to be friendly with all the countries. 

Finally a foreign policy is not just a declaration of fine 
principles; nor is it a directive to tell the world how to behave. 
It is conditioned and controlled by a country’s own strength. 
If the policy does not take the capacity of the country’ into 
account, it cannot be followed up. If a country’ talks bigger 
than it is, it brings little credit to itself. It is easy for you or 
me to lay down beautiful maxims; but if that is done by a 
government or nations, it would probably come to nothing. 
In any case, what do we achieve except the satisfaction of 
having made fine speeches? 

The strength which limits or, at any rate, conditions the 
foreign policy of a country may be military, financial or, if 
I may use the word, moral. It is obvious that India has 
neither military nor financial strength. Furthermore, we 
have no desire to — and we cannot — impose our will on 
others. We are, however, anxious to prevent catastrophes 
■and, where possible, to help in the general progress of 
humanity. We do express our opinion and work for our goals 
with the limited strength that we have but if we adopt a 
policy which we arc not in a position to implement, we 
would be discredited ourselves in the eyes of other nations 
and be dubbed irresponsible. It is difficult for me to praise 



DEFINING FOREIGN POLICY 


S2S 


or even defend the foreign policy we are pursuing, for I have 
had a great deal to do with it. I hope I am not being vain 
when I say that our policy has, indeed, secured us the 
friendship of a large number of countries. I am confident 
that today there is no country which is actually hostile to us. 
Naturally, some countries are more friendly than others but 
those who are occasionally critical of us do not harbour any 
permanent resentment against us. We owe this to the policy 
we are pursuing and the manner in which we are pursuing 
it. We have tried not to join in the new diplomatic game of 
maligning, defaming and cursing other countries. That 
does not necessarily mean that we agree with what they say 
or do; we may not agree but merely shouting against them 
does not help, apart from the fact that it is indecorous, too. 
Wc have to deal not only with political and economic consi- 
derations but also with a large number of imponderables 
like fear, for instance. It is alarming to see fear gripping 
some of the largest and most powerful countric s in the world. 
It is heartening — and I think it is true — that although we 
cannot be compared with the great countries of the world 
in terms of power, yet, if I may say so, we as a people, are 
less influenced by the fear psychosis. Of course, some people 
may attribute this to our ignorance of the facts. Facts 
certainly have to be reckoned with; but imponderable things 
also come in the way of humanity and, if we are to deal with 
them effectively, the least we can do is to adopt a manner 
that would help rather than hinder. That is to say, we must 
refrain from merely running down other countries. We can 
certainly express our opinion when it is necessary; we can say 
that we do not agree with a country or that certain things are, 
in our opinion, wrong; but we must not go farther than that. 

Mention has been made of a ‘third force*. I have not 
been able to understand quite what it means. If by the term is 
meant a power bloc, military or other, I am afraid I do not 
consider it desirable, apart from the fact that it is not feasible 
either. The biggest countries today are small compared with 
the two giants. It would be absurd for a number of countries 
in Asia to come together and call themselves a third force or 
a third power in a military sense. It may, however, have a 

22—11 DPD/65 



S26 


JAWAHARLAI. NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


meaning in another sense. Instead of calling it a third force 
or a third bloc, it can be called a third area, an area which — 
let us put negatively first — does not want war, works for 
peace in a positive way and believes in co-operation. I 
should like my country to work for that. Indeed, we have 
tried to do so but the idea of a third bloc or a third force 
inevitably hinders our work. It frightens people, especially 
those we wish to approach. Those countries, who do not 
want to align themselves with either of the two powerful 
blocs and who are willing to work for the cause of peace, 
should by all means come together; and we, on our part, 
should do all we can to make this possible. That is our general 
policy and I think we should follow it without too much of 
shouting. I am not afraid of shouting but we want to achieve 
certain things and shouting may embarrass the countries we 
have to approach. 

The Far Eastern problem is on the agenda of UNO and 
is due for discussion at its next session. I cannot say now 
what our representatives may have to do then, because so 
much depends on the circumstances which may develop in 
the course of the next two weeks or so. All I can say is that 
they will broadly try to follow the policy we are pursuing. 
What I wanted was to refer briefly to the Korean Resolution 
which we sponsored at the United Nations. Ever since the 
Korean war started, we have been very much concerned 
with it, not because we wanted to interfere or bully others 
but because we were perhaps in a position to help more than 
any other country could. Our relations with the countries 
in conflict were cordial. This was not true of other countries 
and, therefore, it was difficult for them to do anything. We 
realized our peculiar responsibility to the poor people of 
Korea and strongly felt that the utter ruin and destruction 
in Korea should be stopped at any cost. 

I do not want to go into past history; but several steps 
were taken by us which did not yield immediate results but 
which, it was subsequently realized, were the right step$. 
The very first thing that strikes us about the situation in die 
Far East and about which we are all agreed is that it is unreal 
and that unless we deal with that great country, China, we 



DEFINING FOREIGN POLICY 


327 


can do nothing effective. We, therefore, recognized the 
People’s Republic of China right from the beginning and 
urged other countries in UNO and elsewhere to do the same 
regardless of whether or not they liked the policies of China. 
The fact of China is patent enough and not to recognize it 
was and is a fundamental breach — I do not know if ‘breach’ 
is the right word — and contrary to the very spirit and charter 
of the United Nations. Nobody can say the UNO was supposed 
only to represent countries subscribing to one policy. That, 
unfortunately, is the trend that has gradually come to exist 
at UNO. The result is that a country as tremendous as China 
has been treated as though it did not exist and a small island 
off the coast of China is accepted as representing China. I hat 
is very extraordinary. My contention is that this fact 's the 
crux of the situation that has developed in the Fat East. The 
non-recognition of realities naturally leads to artificial policies 
and programmes and that is exactly what is happening. 

We had been in continuous touch with the Governments 
of China, the U.K. and the U.S.A. as well as those of other 
countries a few months before we sponsored the Korean 
Resolution at UNO. We were very anxious not to take any 
step which would embarrass us or some other party because 
that would only have made it more difficult for us to help. 
Occasionally we informed one party about the general out- 
look and point of view of another. We were in a position 
to do this because the heads of our missions abroad made 
it a point to keep in touch with the countries they were 
accredited to. That is why we were able to frame our resolu- 
tion largely in accordance with the Chinese viewpoint as we 
thought it to be. I do not say it was a hundred per cent 
representative of the Chinese viewpoint but it was certainly 
an attempt to represent it. The burden of it was that in the 
matter of the exchange of prisoners, the Geneva Convention 
should be followed. 

Let me not be understood to mean that we were 
committed to the statements made by our representatives to 
those of China. We only tried to find out how China would 
like things to be done. It is, of course, not possible for a party, 
however big, to have its own way in every respect and we did 



S28 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 

not overlook this aspect of the problem when we framed our 
resolution. 

Now, another factor to be borne in mind is that this 
resolution dealt only with the problem of exchange of 
prisoners. Those who want to know why it did not deal with 
the question of a ceasefire forget the facts of the case. All of 
us know that truce negotiations were being carried on at 
Panmunjon for a year and a half before this. After great 
difficulty an agreement was arrived at in every matter except 
that of the exchange of prisoners. Obviously, the primary 
aim of the truce negotiations was a ceasefire and that was the 
first consequence of an agreement. Therefore, we took up 
only the still unsettled question of exchange of prisoners, 
subject to the settlement of which a ceasefire had already 
been agreed upon. The principles which governed the resolu- 
tion had been drawn up in great detail before it was actually 
framed. Those principles were communicated to the People’s 
Government of China for their opinion early last November. 
A fortnight passed — I am speaking from memory about the 
period — and we were told that our communication was being 
carefully considered. I might say that on many occasions we 
had been encouraged by various Governments, including 
the Chinese Government, to persevere in our endeavours for 
peace. It was not our desire to thrust ourselves where we 
were not wanted. It is true that the Chinese Government had 
not committed itself to co-operating with us but it had not 
refused to do so either and we felt that we might safely go 
ahead. It may have been a wrong decision but we made 
considerable progress and things were developing. There 
was no great difference between the principles we had drawn 
up and the final resolution. Anyhow, we sent the latter to the 
parties concerned and a few days elapsed — I forget how many 
— before we actually proposed the resolution. As the House 
will remember, the first reaction to it was one of disapproval 
and an immediate rejection on the part of the United States 
Government. Till then we had no idea what the reaction of 
the Chinese and Soviet Governments would be. They, at 
length, informed us that they did not approve of it. Naturally, 
we were greatly disappointed. What were we to do then? 



DEFINING FOREIGN POLICY 


S29 


Some people are of the opinion that we should have with- 
drawn the resolution at that stage. It is true that the mere 
passing of a resolution has little meaning when the aim is an 
agreed settlement. We realized that; but, on the other hand, 
there were not many alternatives. Before we put our 
resolution to UNO there were a number of others, all of 
which were, if I may say so, aggressive and would certainly 
have made the situation much w’orse. We did not approve of 
them and would have voted against them had the occasion 
presented itself. A resolution proposed by the Soviet Union or 
by some other country of Eastern Europe laid stress on the 
importance of an immediate ceasefire. We should have wel- 
comed a ceasefire but it was absolutely clear that the lesolu- 
tion would not be passed. Many countries felt that if the 
issue of prisoners could not be resolved after a whole year’s 
argument, in spite of the presence of a war, it would never 
be resolved even if a ceasefire took place. Therefore, they 
preferred to continue negotiations till all the issues could be 
decided once and for all to the satisfaction of all parties 
concerned. This was the difficulty so far as our resolution was 
concerned. Furthermore, it has been very largely support- 
ed but some of the principal parties concerned unfortunately 
did not agree to it. As a matter of fact, the resolution was not 
ours but one that had been sponsored by the House. We 
had to adopt a realistic course but we did not know whether 
or not we should withdraw the resolution and let matters 
drift. The resolution, however, was not a mandate but in the 
nature of a proposal and we thought it might possibly help in 
the further consideration of the subject. 

May I say one other thing in this connection? I under- 
stand that some Members have disapproved of our action in 
sending a medical unit to Korea. We sent this unit to Korea 
purely for medical relief work and, I must say, it has done re- 
markably well, gaining for itself, in addition, some very 
valuable experience. Of its kind, it is one of the best units in 
the world today. It did not take part in the fighting because, 
though we are prepared to give medical succour, we have 
nothing to do with the war as such. 

I am afraid I have taken a long time over this matter 



330 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU S SPEECHES 1949-1953 

and I should like to pass on to another subject. I am told diat 
my £riend, Acharya Narendra Dev, whose opinion I value 
very greatly, expressed himself in despondent tones about the 
economic situation in the country and said that the Five 
Year Plan was not likely to succeed. 

It is not easy to take an overall view of the economic 
situation in the country and sum it up in a few sentences. 
None of us can take a complacent view of it but the point is 
how to overcome our difficulties in regard to food, land, 
industry and, ultimately better production and better 
distribution. All this was considered at great length when the 
Five Year Plan was formulated. 

The main virtue of the Five Year Plan is that we have 
come to grips with our problems for the first time. Theoretical 
approaches have their place and are, I suppose, essential but a 
theory must be tempered with reality. In this instance, we 
have to realize that we cannot go far beyond our resources. 
And 1 think that in the Five Year Plan we have come to 
realistic conclusions, not forgetting our objectives. I should 
like the pace at which we are making progress to increase and, 
indeed; I shall be very happy if hon. Members would suggest 
practical measures to achieve this end. 

I believe that the food situation has improved consider- 
ably and I am sure that, of the various factors responsible. 
Government policy is certainly one. People refer to the famine 
or near-famine conditions that prevailed in Rayalaseema last 
year and do in parts of Karnataka and Bombay State this 
year. They are right. I would, however, like the House to 
remember that though we use the word ‘famine’ today — I do 
not like using the word — we do so in an entirely different 
sense than we did in the old days when the British were 
here. Then, a famine meant millions of people dying like 
flies. Whereas, if a person dies of hunger or from other causes 
today, there is an outcry of protest. There is, at the present 
moment, a new political consciousness and I am very glad 
about it. In the Bengal famine of 1942-43, 35 lakhs of people 
died. And I do suggest that the situation is vastly different 
now. I mention this because a foreign visitor went to the 
famine areas the othei day. He said: ‘You talk about famine 



DEFINING FOREIGN POLICY 


931 


in these areas! I do not find any people dead or dying. This 
is not a famine.’ Doubtless, he had got his conception of 
famine from the British days. 

It is no small achievement that in spite of tremendous 
natural calamities, such as the failure of the rains and 
drought, which affected vast areas, the State Governments, 
with the co-operation of the Central Government, have 
prevented the situation from deteriorating and have 
controlled it by giving work or doles. Unfortunately, they 
could not always prevent misery and hunger. The Govern- 
ment of Bombay State, for instance, recognizes its respon- 
sibility of providing food in scarcity areas whether It is 
through works — which some hon. Members must have seen in 
Rayalaseema and in the Karnataka areas — or other means. 
Two years ago, a huge administrative venture was under- 
taken with considerable success in Bihar. Unfortunately, we 
cannot deal satisfactorily with accidents, such as the failure of 
the monsoons. As I said, natural calamities have done 
considerable damage but we are building up our strength so 
as to be able to deal with the situation. It is difficult to cope 
with great disasters; but we should be able to overcome 
natural calamities in the course of the next two or chree years. 
By then, I think, it should be possible — I dare not give any 
promise — to become more or less self-sufficient in food. 

Some people say that we are always talking about agricul- 
ture to the neglect of industry. I attach the greatest 
importance to the development of industry but I doubt 
whether any real industrial development can take place in 
India till we have a firm basis for our agriculture. Of course, 
we must make progress on all fronts. The nation’s economic 
growth is no simple matter. We have to plan the nation’s 
savings and long term investments with great care. Saving for 
future generations means exerting some pressure on the pre- 
sent generation. It means, if I may say so, a certain austerity. 
It is all very well for an authoritarian government to dictate 
a policy it considers good for the country; but it is not so easy 
for a democratic country to do so. It is difficult to ask people 
to starve today to have jam tomorrow. Even great countries 
like the United Kingdom and the U.S.A. took 150 years to 



532 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1955 


build themselves- up. Those hon. Members who are acquaint- 
ed with history know that this meant extreme suffering for 
their working classes. The proprietors themselves were not 
men who liked luxury; they were austere people who saved 
so that their industrial apparatus might grow and they did 
this at a terrible cost. It was not difficult to do this in England 
where Parliament at that time was controlled by a small 
group of propertied people. Conditions were different in 
America where there were vast areas. We are differently 
situated in many ways; for one thing, we have an enormous 
population which grows* every year and which has to be 
maintained. Also, we have adult suffrage in a- democratic 
set-up. 

Some people suggest that we should have a capital levy in 
order to save for investment. Others want to improve the 
general standard of living which, apart from the psychological 
good it may do, will not gain much for us. What really counts 
is the increase in our rate of production. To build up an 
adequate apparatus for an increase in future production, you 
naturally have to save today. To do this and to solve our 
other problems, we must have definite industrial, financial 
and land policies. Therefore, we have inaugurated the Five 
Year Plan and the great point in its favour is that it has 
made people plan-conscious generally. It has also made us 
aware of the basic realities, such as the true nature of our 
position and resources. Of course, we can vary the Plan 
whenever we like, although it is dangerous to think of chang- 
ing it constantly. 

The House will remember that in the President’s Address 
there is a reference to the Welfare State. He has also said that 
the real test of progress lies in the growth of employment and 
in the ultimate ending of unemployment. Obviously, there 
can be no Welfare State if there is unemployment. Anyhow, 
the unemployed themselves are not parties to the Welfare 
State but just outside its pale. To realize the ideal of a Welfare 
State requires hard work, tremendous effort and co-operation 
from us and I appeal to this House and to the country to give 
us that co-operation. 

Finally, I should like to say a few words about the Praja 



DEFINING FOREIGN POLICY 


sss 

Parishad agitation. My friend, the hon. Acharya Narendra 
Dev, referred to it and said that in his opinion it was a wholly 
communal agitation initiated by those who had been 
supporters of the former Maharaja and the landed gentry. 
He also suggested that an investigation should be made .to 
find out why this agitation, which was primarily a class agita- 
tion - , should have affected other people. I agree that there 
should be an investigation but we must remember that some 
aspects of this question may not be as well known as others. 
To understand the significance of the agitation, we must 
distinguish its purely economic aspect from the other, which 
is political, constitutional and, perhaps, even international. 

As the House knows, an official commission, with the 
Chief Justice of the State — a very responsible and able officer 
— as its president, has been appointed to deal with economic 
matters. Had the commission been non-official, it should 
immediately have been condemned as not being representa- 
tive. I submit to the House that it was hardly possible for the 
Kashmir Government to appoint a commission constituted 
by the very people who were against the former. If it had 
appointed non-officials, other non-officials might have said: 
‘These are your party men.’ I think the Kashmir Govern- 
ment very wisely appointed a purely official commission whose 
findings it can accept and give effect to. 

Many things are said about other matters which are of a 
political nature. The hon. Member who spoke before me 
said something about our National Flag. The Constituent 
Assembly of Kashmir has repeatedly said that the Union 
Flag is the supreme flag of Kashmir State as it is of the rest 
of India and it has, therefore, been displayed from time to 
time. It is interesting to note that many of those who talk 
about their respect for the National Flag have, in the past, 
openly declared their intention to replace it by their own 
party flag. Communal organizations, be they in Jammu or 
in Delhi, have seldom shown respect for our flag and now 
they exploit it in order to gain other people’s goodwill for 
this agitation. My chief grievance and sorrow in this matter 
is that legitimate things have been exploited for unworthy 
objectives. 



334 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949 1953 


There is nobody here who does not want the State of 
Jammu and Kashmir to have the closest association with 
India. There is no difference of opinion on this objective but 
the way that has been pursued has made its realization very 
difficult. Our union with Jammu and Kashmir State can 
only be based on the wishes of the people of Jammu and 
Kashmir; we are not going to achieve a union at the point 
of the bayonet. Our policy, therefore, should be to try and win 
them over instead of frightening them. We must not disturb 
the status of Jammu and Kashmir State but let it remain a 
separate entity in the Union of India. The accession of 
Jammu and Kashmir State was identical with that of any 
other State in India, although it was thought at the time that 
there might be a variation in the degree to which States 
would be integrated with India in the future. We certainly 
did not think it possible that all the States could be integrated 
with India to the same degree. I am talking of 1947 or 
perhaps early 1948. When Jammu and Kashmir State 
acceded, it did so as fully as any other State, so that the 
question of partial accession does not arise. I should especially 
like to point this out to people who talk about the reference 
to the United Nations on the possibility of a plebiscite. This 
does not detract from Kashmir’s accession to India in any 
way. The accession is complete. Accession must, however, 
be distinguished from integration. Jammu and Kashmir 
State acceded first and then integrated as the other States had 
done and in the same degree. However, the late Sardar 
Vallabhbhai Patel wisely followed a policy of fuller integra- 
tion for the other States; but in the nature of things, we could 
not follow a similar policy in Kashmir where a war, which 
had almost become an international issue, was going on. 

Last year, the question of further accession arose — not as 
such but in connection with certain other arrangements with 
Kashmir. The agreement between the Governments of India 
and Kashmir had to do with a number of things to which this 
House agreed and the implementation of which was tanta- 
mount to a further degree of integration. 

We are sometimes asked why that agreement has not 
been fully implemented yet. The question is apparently 



DEFINING FOREIGN POLICY 


335 


justified but the fact is that the Jammu and Kashmir Govern- 
ment is even more than the others, an autonomous govern- 
ment. It is up to it to shoulder the responsibility for the 
situations it may have to face. If something happens in Bengal 
or Bombay or Madras, we can only give advice because 
they are autonomous States and must deal with the local 
situation themselves. The same is true of Kashmir also. We 
cannot order the Government of Kashmir about or foist a 
time-table on it. We leave it to it to judge its own affairs and 
take such action as it deems fit. 

In view of the war and the other events which have given 
it an international significance, Kashmir had to be treated as 
a special case. The Jammu Praja Parishad agitation started 
the very day the agreement between the Governments of 
India and Kashmir was given effect to in part and when the 
new head of the State, the Sadar-e-Riyasat, elected by the 
Kashmir Assembly and approved by our President, arrived 
in Jammu. The Parishad workers tried to interfere with die 
welcome given to the Yuvaraj and tore the triumphal arch 
down. That was how it started but iL has continued ever 
since. Had the Kashmir Government been anxious to 
implement the rest of the agreement, it could not have done 
so without dealing with the existing situation first. Its hands 
were thus tied to some extent because of the agitation. The 
history of Kashmir, going back a little over a hundred years, 
bears evidence that the State has had to experience repeated 
conquest, transfer, purchase and so on. The Jammu province 
of the State was most important from political and other 
points of view just as Hyderabad was in the old days when the 
Muslim community dominated. Now, things are completely 
different. Naturally, Hyderabad has changed. The feudal 
order that existed has gone, taking with it the big jagirs and 
inevitably causing considerable distress among those who 
depended on that feudal order as also among those who 
depended on the armed forces which were disbanded. I 
cannot compare the two; there are very great differences. 
But there are resemblances, too, because both Jammu and 
Hyderabad had dominant groups which resisted the political 
changes that were taking place and disapproved of the new 



336 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 

land reform. Also, the background of the economic difficulties 
of both has some common features. 

The agitation soon assumed a violent form. I have here 
with me particulars of over a hundred officers of the 
Jammu and Kashmir Government — Deputy Commissioner, 
Superintendents of Police, schoolmasters and constables — 
who have been injured. Numerous school buildings have been 
ransacked, furniture and other things destroyed and small 
Government offices and treasuries looted. This is a curious 
kind of ‘peaceful’ satyagraha. However, the Kashmir Govern- 
ment has to deal with the situation but the agitation will, 
as the House must realize, have unfortunate repercussions. 
The demand of the Parishad is the complete integration of 
Jammu with India but if Jammu were to have its wishes 
carried out and Kashmir were left out of the picture, it would 
obviously amount to the disruption of the State. 

This is an extraordinary attitude to adopt and it can 
certainly aid and comfort the enemies of India. I am amazed 
when responsible people in India support an agitation which 
can only result in injury to India as a whole and the people 
of Jammu inevitably. If the agitation succeeds, it will be the 
people of Jammu who will suffer. I had occasion to read 
reports of some of the speeches made in the course of the 
agitation. Appeals were made to subvert the Government 
of India so that a different policy could be followed. Every- 
body has a right to ask for his own government but such 
demands on the part of the Jammu Parishad were merely an 
excuse for something bigger. Whether or not the demands 
are feasible is a matter which is being discussed at Geneva at 
the moment. Naturally, we are anxious that this conflict 
should end, normality should return and legitimate grievances 
be removed. I am certain that the Kashmir Government is as 
anxious as we are but how are we to decide complicated 
constitutional and international problems? It is difficult 
for us to discuss them with other people because we have to 
consult so many parties. We are supposed to discuss these 
problems in the market place with the Praja Parishad peoplel 
I just do not understand how this can be done. 

Principal Devaprasad Ghosh suggested that the question 



DEFINING FOREIGN POLICY 


SS7 


of the aggressors and the plebiscite in Kashmir should be 
discussed at Geneva. I had discussions with the leaders of the 
Jan Sangh about how the aggressors can be got rid of. How- 
ever, the question involves military matters, political matters, 
constitutional and national matters. Since Pakistan is the 
aggressor, the question involves the entire problem of war 
and peace between India and Pakistan. Let us realize the 
nature and depth of the problem and discuss it dispassionately. 
By connecting it with the Jammu Parishad agitation, we 
are giving it a communal outlook and that, I think, is fatal 
for the whole country. It will disrupt the country and put 
an end to our freedom. And there is such a wide gap bet seen 
the two approaches that one cannot be too optimistic about 
the possibility of an agreement. 

My honourable friend Dr Kunzru showed grave concern 
and expressed his disapproval of the fact that certain persons 
in the Punjab had been arrested and detained in the course 
of the past week or ten days. I believe about a dozen or so 
have been arrested. I do not know whether Dr Kunzru 
meant that under no circumstances should a person be so 
arrested and detained or whether he thought that in the 
peculiar circumstances now prevailing in the Punjab this 
should not have been done. 

If he means the former, I would submit that it is difficult 
to agree with him and, indeed, I cannot do so; nor can any 
other country agree with him in a final sense. Of course, it 
is a thing which should not normally be done and I hope 
it is not normally done; but it is done under the stress of 
special circumstances. When the Punjab became a source of 
supply to the people of Jammu, the latter used all kinds of 
methods to excite the people there and to create trouble on 
communal lines. Their techniques are still being employed 
in Delhi and in some cities of western U.P. Processions are 
being taken out with the shouting of explosive slogans. 
Surely, that can lead to a very grave situation. Some of the 
trouble occurred almost within a stone’s throw of the cease- 
fire line. Since the Pakistan forces were on the other side, 
we were anxious that our Army should keep completely out 
of this. In fact, the disturbances were planned presumably 



338 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


to excite the Army. I know that the Punjab Government 
was gravely concerned for weeks because the ultimate 
responsibility was theirs, whether they did anything or not. 

I am sorry to have taken up so much of your time but the 
subjects before the House in connection with the President’s 
Address cover not only India but the world and responsibility 
largely falls upon us, as a Parliament, to face our problems 
with dignity and restraint, always keeping our principles 
before us and always in a spirit of humility. 


THE PSYCHOSIS OF FEAR 

T his House has been debating this Motion for four days and 
we have covered many subjects, big and small. We have 
ranged all over the world and considered the problems of 
India. I find it a little difficult to deal with all the issues in 
the course of my reply. I hope the House will permit me to 
deal only with what I consider to be the more important of 
them. That, I feel, would be better than to divert the atten- 
tion of the House to a maze of minor subjects, which, no 
doubt, are important in themselves but which are, neverthe- 
less, insignificant in the larger scheme of things today. 

I should like to say that I have endeavoured to consider 
these matters as dispassionately and as objectively as possible. 
I have also tried to profit by the comments and criticisms 
made. I shall, however, repudiate the charge of complacency 
and smugness that has been levelled against me and my 
colleagues. I cannot conceive how any person charged with 
responsibility can be complacent today. Even if he were so 
inclined, he cannot afford to be so. I certainly do not have 
any feeling of complacency when I view the problems of this 
country and the world. I have sometimes a sensation akin to 
excitement when I think of the tremendous drama that is 
taking place in the world. I also experience a sense of high 

Speech in reply to debate on the President’s Address in the House of the 
People. New Delhi, February 18, 1953 



THE PSYCHOSIS OF FEAR 


SS9 


adventure when I consider what we are endeavouring to do 
in this country in spite of the tremendous difficulties that 
perpetually confront us. If hon. Members would only take 
the trouble to read what I sometimes say outside this House, 
they will discover that I always warn my colleagues against 
complacency. By no means do we think that we have all the 
wisdom. Any person who is dogmatic is necessarily 
complacent. Complacency comes when one’s mind is closed 
and one accepts a dogmatic phrase. Complacency is a narrow- 
ness of outlook in the changing world of today. 

I said a little while ago that I have endeavoured to 
consider these matters dispassionately. At this point, I would 
like to express to the House, in particular to the hon Dr 
Syama Prasad Mookerjee, m) regret that I let myself be 
provoked into a temper for a moment yesterday. 

Before I proceed, I should like to deal with something 
brought up by another hon. Member of the Opposition. 
The hon. Member, Prof. Hirendra Nath Mukerjee, referred 
to the landing of thousands of American military aircraft at 
Dum Dum. I shall read out what the hon. Member said. 
He referred to a U.S. Superfortress landing at the IAF Station 
Agra, early in December 1952. He went on to say: 

“Why is it that we hear — I want to be corrected later 
by the Prime Minister, if I am wrong — that in October 
1952 there were as many as 3,250 military landings at 
Dum Dum Airport, out of which the contribution of 
the Indian Air Force was only 25 while that of the 
United States Air Force came to the tune of 1,200.” 
I was so amazed at this statement that I enquired into the 
matter. If the facts were as stated above, one could justifiably 
imagine that a large scale invasion of India was in progress. 
The facts as ascertained are as follows: No Superfortress 
visited Agra in December or at any other time but an old 
military type of aircraft, converted for civilian use, is kept by 
the American Embassy and is based at Palam. This aircraft 
visited Agra aerodrome on December 9, 1952 and returned to 
Delhi the same day. The Dum Dum aerodrome near 
Calcutta, however, is on the international route and is 
visited daily by a very large number of aircraft belonging 



MO 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


to different international lines flying from east to west and 
west to east. 

All these flights are subject to international rules and 
usage. Sometimes, though rarely, permission is given to fly 
over India without landing anywhere in the country. 
Normally, foreign aircraft have to land at some airport 
in India for examination and checks of various kinds. 
Military aircraft belonging to a foreign State can fly to and 
across India only with the prior approval of the Government 
of India and in accordance with an agreement entered into 
by that State with the Government of India. In the whole 
of the year 1952, 459 military aircraft landed at Dum Dum. 
Of these, only 118 belonged to the U.S. Air Force. None of 
these American aircraft carried arms or ammunition or 
personnel in uniform. The Indian Air Force has its head- 
quarters at Palam and, therefore, relatively few landings 
take place at Dum Dum. 

We are concerned with both the international situation 
and domestic situation. Even though we may consider them 
separately, they are, to some extent, related. I do not suppose 
there is any disagreement in this House about our ideal of the 
Welfare State. The question is how to attain that end; and 
certainly, there might well be difference of opinion in regard 
to the means. Anyhow, the building up of a new India is a 
tremendous adventure. Can there be anything more exciting 
than the idea that the Welfare State of our dreams will 
raise hundreds of millions of people to a fuller way of life? 
Our problem is that, for a fairly long period, the country did 
not grow as naturally as it might have done. It seems as 
though a number of centuries, all jostled up together, have 
suddenly been hurled into the middle of the 20th century. 
This is not a matter one can really understand in an academic 
debate. India’s vast regions are by no means uniform; they 
are all at different stages of economic, industrial and agricul- 
tural growth. We are trying to develop the whole country 
more or less at the same time and if we are not able to 
perform miracles, we can hardly be blamed. However, while 
we are engaged in this gigantic and difficult task, we have 
little time to spare for and little energy to give to inter- 



THE PSYCHOSIS OF FEAR J41 

national affairs. But we do not have much choice in the 
matter because international affairs hit us in the face It is 
part of India’s destiny that she should play her part in these 
affairs like other countries whether she wishes to or not. 
We are part of the international community and no 
country, . much less a large country like India, can remain 
isolated from it. So, we are of necessity involved in inter- 
national affairs which grow more and more complicated every 
day. 

The United Nations Organization came into existence 
seven or eight years ago and it represented the timeless urge 
of humanity for peace. The League of Nations, even a- its 
commencement, was not what might be called an inter- 
national organization with a universal background. Great 
countries kept out of it and were kept out of it. The United 
Nations at the time of its inauguration was, at least, based on 
a presumption of universality, because it symbolized the 
longing among all peoples for the return of peace. Countries 
differing from one another in the structure of government, 
economic and political policy and in a great many other 
respects were able to come together under the huge umbrella 
of the United Nations. So that, the first attribute of the 
United Nations — at least, the supposed attribute — may be 
said to have been universality. The other attribute was the 
main objective, namely, the maintenance of peace, the 
growth of co-operative effort among nations and the solution 
of disputes by peaceful means as far as possible. The United 
Nations laid down a rule concerning the veto of certain great 
Powers. It is very easy to criticize that rule as illogical, 
undemocratic and all that but, as a matter of fact, the rule 
recognized the reality of the moment. The United Nations 
could not adopt sanctions against any of the great Powers. 
Such sanctions could be vetoed and would, in any case, mean 
a world war. If the United Nations was to avoid a world 
war, it had to bring in some such clause. Let us see how 
such a situation actually developed. 

First of all, we find that the principle of universality with 
which the United Nations started has been departed from. A 
great country like China is not given recognition at the 

23—11 DPD/CS 



M2 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-195S 

United Nations. Whether we like or dislike the present 
Government in China or whether we approve or disapprove 
of China’s revolution is not at all relevant to the patent fact. 
The basic principle of universality has been abandoned by the 
United Nations. This is a return to the attitude that caused 
the League of Nations to fail. The matter does not end with 
expressing an academic opinion; the failure of the United 
Nations to give recognition to a country which is obviously 
stable and strong has given rise to fresh problems of a 
universal character. 

This great organization built for peace is itself engaged in 
war sponsoring today. I am not blaming anybody but only 
trying to analyse the situation as objectively as I can. Is it 
possible that the world has not grown up and is incapable of 
having an international organization for peace? I do not 
know. People talk about a united world; many wise, 
intelligent and ardent people adtocate the ideal of world 
federalism but we again and again prove ourselves unable 
to give effect to it. Is it possible for countries entirely different 
from one another in their political, economic and other 
policies to co-operate or must they remain apart? There 
was a time, centuries ago, when it did not much matter 
whether they did or not because there was no natural contact. 
Today, there is continuous contact, which can be friendly 
or hostile. I find myself wondering again and again whether 
an international organization, containing within its core 
countries with entirely different aims, can exist. I feel sure it 
can and, what is more, see no reason why it should not func- 
tion efficiently. After all, when the United Nations was 
started, countries like the United States of America and the 
U.S.S.R. did co-operate and come together before they 
drifted apart. For my part, I do not see why they should not 
be able to function together in an organization, provided, of 
course, they did not interfere with one another and so long 
as each was free to carry on the policy it chose for itself. 
Difficulties arise only when there are attempts at interference. 
Then, of course, there is conflict and it is very difficult to 
find out who started the interfering. Charges and counter- 
charges are made and things rapidly go from bad to worse. 



THE PSYCHOSIS OF FEAR 


MS 


Another thing that intimately concerns us and to which 
we must give recognition is the tremendous pace of 
technological development. We, who live in the technological 
world, do not wholly appreciate that it is making all the 
difference to the world. The development of communications 
and the huge strides taken in the art of warfare throw uS 
together all the time. This has created a situation in which 
a world war, should it occur, will cause such destruction 
that no objective for which it is fought can ever be realized 
through it. 

In the circumstances, what can a country like India do? 
We cannot influence other countries by force or aims or 
pressure or money. We can only do things negatively and 
what we can do positively is not much. To imagine that we 
will shake the world or fashion international affairs accord- 
ing to our thinking, as hon. Members seem to believe some- 
times, is absurd. We cannot issue ultimatums or make 
demands; nor can we express our views in strong language 
to the world at large because it has little meaning unless we 
are in a position to do something about it. Members of the 
Opposition have repeatedly complained that the President 
has used weak, circumspect language and failed to say 
things forcefully one way or the other. I would beg of them 
to remember that in the modern world, strength does not 
reside in strong language. Nor does it reside in slogans. I 
hope India is, with all her failings, a mature nation with a 
tradition of restraint, a few thousand years old. A mature 
nation does not and should not shout too much. I regret that 
there is far too much shouting and cursing in the world today. 
It may be perfectly justified but it is not good all the same. 
The world is up against a grave problem. Two giant countries 
dislike each other, try to undermine each other and yet 
are terribly afraid of each other. We seem to be surrounded 
by fear and hatred and that is the worst thing that can 
happen to a country. 

We cannot do much about it but it is certainly within our 
power not to do anything or say anything which will increase 
the fear and the hatred. We should not indulge in the contest 
of shouting, cursing and slandering which seems to have 



344 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 

replaced diplomacy. Where we can help positively, we should 
help, although there is always the risk that our attempts may 
fail. We have been very cautious about our positive steps. 
We have, however, endeavoured with a great deal of success 
not to take part in controversies or in running other nations 
down. 

I must say, however, that whenever we have done any- 
thing it has been in the hope that it will help the cause of 
peace and a deeper understanding among nations. For 
instance, there was the matter of the Korean Resolution. 
We tried our utmost to find out what the other countries 
concerned were prepared to accept or do. It is impossible 
to find out everything but we did proceed on a sound enough 
basis. About 90 or 95 per cent of what we put forward in that 
resolution was almost a verbatim report of what had been 
said to us separately by the parties concerned. I am not 
justifying our actions; my point is that we have always tried 
earnestly to put one party’s viewpoint before the other 
without compromising anything. Well, we failed in the case 
of the Korean Resolution and must suffer for that failure. 

Some hon. Members on the other side of the House are 
constantly repeating, as if it were a mantra which they had 
learnt without understanding it, that we are stooges of the 
Americans, that we are part of the Anglo-American bloc and 
so on. Of course, such a statement, in the case of persons 
who are less restrained than I am, might have led to a retort 
but I do not wish to indulge in that kind of thing. I should 
like them and others to make an effort to keep out of the 
habit of learning a few slogans and phrases and repeating 
them over and over again. That becomes quite stale. 

My point is that peace requires peaceful methods. The 
House will remember that Gandhiji always laid stress on the 
question of means and ends. I am not entering into a meta- 
physical argument but surely, if you demand peace, you 
must work for it peacefully. A large number of countries, 
big and small, talk about peace in an aggressive and warlike 
manner. This does not applv to one group more than to 
another; it applies almost to everybody. In fact, one might 
say that peace is now spelt WAR. We are steadily acquiring 



THE PSYCHOSIS OK FEAR 


345 


the military mentality while statesmanship has taken second 
place. 

A soldier is a very excellent person in his own domain 
but somebody once said — I think it was a French statesman 
— that even war was too serious a thing to be handed over to 
a soldier to control, much less peace. This incursion of the 
military mentality in the Chancelleries of the world is a 
dangerous development. How can we meet it? I confess 
that we in India cannot make too much of a difference. Of 
course, we cannot take the world on our shoulders and 
remodel it according to our heart’s desire; but we can help 
in creating a climate of peace which is so essential ft 1 the 
realization of our objectives. 

There are many causes of war — some often discussed and 
others hidden. Owing to a number of factors, chiefly 
technological developments, political developments, nationa- 
list movements and the like, vast masses of people all over the 
world have ceased to be quiescent. That is a good thing. 
People in colonial countries, for instance, are no longer pre- 
pared to suffer or to put up with their present lot. Naturally, 
they take notice of anything that appears to them to be a 
liberating force; they are attracted by it. The ‘liberating force’ 
may not actually liberate them; it might even make things 
worse. The whole world is in a fluid state, men’s minds have 
been moved and perturbed and they seek somethings to sup- 
port them and to guide them. 

One would have thought that the first thing to do in such 
a state of affairs would have been to remove the patent 
grievances of the masses of downtrodden people. The problem 
of colonialism has certainly been tackled to a considerable 
extent in the few years since the war ended. It should be 
dealt with still further and thus at least one of the causes of 
dissatisfaction will be removed. That, I am afraid, has not 
been done. Also, the tendency to look at the countries of 
Asia as though they were on the outer fringe of things must 
be checked. One of the most important developments of our 
age has been what has taken place and is likely to take place 
in Asia. Asia is today very wide awake, resurgent, active 
and somewhat rebellious. These facts raise certain psycho- 



346 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


logical problems whether it is in Asia or in Africa. There is 
not the shadow of a doubt that the approach that is being 
made in large parts of Africa is bound to fail. It does not 
require a prophet to say that this approach will lead to racial 
conflicts which will have the most dangerous consequences. 
The steps that are being taken in South Africa may not be 
related to the situation in the Far East or in Central Europe 
and Germany but they are basic facts which may do much 
to shape the world of tomorrow. 

What policy can India pursue in this matter? As I said, 
whatever the policy we decide to pursue, we should talk in a 
quiet voice and not shout. We should talk in terms of peace, 
not of threats or curses of war. We must try to convert strong 
feeling into strength and not into bad temper. There are only 
two ways of approaching the problem of international rela- 
tions. One is the conviction that, even though we try to avoid 
it, war is bound to come. Therefore, we should prepare for 
it and when it comes, join this party or that. The other way 
starts with the feeling that war can be avoided. Now, there is 
a great difference in these two approaches. If you are 
mentally convinced that war is bound to come, you naturally 
accustom yourself to the idea and, perhaps unconsciously, 
even work for it. On the other hand, if you want to work for 
the avoidance of war, you must believe that it can be avoided. 
Of course, no country can entirely ignore the possibility of 
being entangled in a war; it must take such precautions as it 
ought to. I do not think people anywhere want war but 
somehow they have come to the conclusion that it must come. 
So far as we are concerned, we do not believe that war is 
inevitable, although it is a dangerous possibility. Apart from 
the political or diplomatic field, one can work for its 
avoidance even in the psychological field. 

The House is aware that certain statements have been 
made in the United States of America by the highest 
authorities in regard to the Far East. These have caused grave 
concern not only to us here but in many countries all over 
the world. I confess that it is not clear to me even now exactly 
what the implications of these statements are. But, whatever 
the meaning behind them, there is no doubt about the 



THE PSYCHOSIS OP FEAR 


947 


impression they have created and the reactions they have 
produced. From the point of view of world psychology, they 
have had a disastrous effect. All this talk of the blockade of 
China obviously does not conduce to peace or settlement. I 
must say that we as a government and, I am sure, as a people, 
view these developments with the greatest concern. It is no 
good using strong language. That will not impress anybody 
more than the quiet statements we might make. Our opinion, 
for what it is worth, has been conveyed quite clearly. 

Hon. Members of the Opposition have talked a great deal 
about hunger and starvation in India. I believe there is an 
amendment to the effect that the economic situation has 
deteriorated. 

It is easy in a country like India to prepare a catalogue of 
the suffering and distress and poverty that exist. The test, 
however, is whether (or not) we are getting over these diffi- 
culties, how far we have gone, how far we are likely to go and 
what steps we are taking. Objectively, there is no doubt that 
the economic situation in the country has improved consider- 
ably. It is not a matter of judgment but of facts and figures. 
I think the lot of the peasantry — I am not for the moment 
talking of the landless labourer — has improved greatly. This 
is a great, big country and it is very difficult to make generali- 
zations, because there will always be exceptions. The landless 
labourer is very important and we should do our utmost for 
him. In some cases, the landless labourer has also done well; 
in others, he has not. The industrial population certainly 
is not worse. It is, if anything, better than it has been during 
the last few years. In spite of a growing population, the 
general condition of the people is, I think, better. I admit 
that does not mean much, since the standard we start with is 
very low, indeed. 

Some people seem to be greatly impressed by the econo- 
mic progress made by the Soviet Union. But, in spite of that 
great progress, the standards of living in the Soviet Union and 
in America are very different. That is not a condemnation of 
the Soviet Union. The fact is that the standard of living in 
the United States is the highest in the world. The Russian 
Revolution took place in November 1917. Ten years later. 



348 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 

let us say in 1927, what was the progress made? I admire 
the progress they made and appreciate that they had civil 
wars and tremendous difficulties but what I am pointing out 
is that their progress should not be compared with that of 
America. It should be judged in relation to where they 
started from at the time of the Revolution. In other words, 
it is the pace of growth that must be judged. 

Similarly, it is not fair to compare India with China. 
I do not mean to imply that we are cleverer than China 
or that we are going ahead faster. The Chinese are an 
amazing people — amazing in the sense of their capacity for 
hard work and for co-operative work. I doubt if there are 
any other people quite equal to them in this respect. But 
between us, there is a very big difference, the effects of which 
it remains for history to show. The difference is that we are 
trying to function in a democratic set-up. It is no good saying 
that we are better or more virtuous than others. No question 
of virtue is involved in this. Ultimately, it is a question of 
which set-up and which structure of government — political 
or economic — pays the highest dividends. When I say highest 
dividends, I do not mean merely material dividends although 
they are important but cultural and spiritual dividends also. 
Intellectual freedom is an important factor, certainly; but 
the future will show its worth. We have deliberately chosen a 
democratic set-up and we feel that it is good for our people 
and for our country in the ultimate analysis. Nevertheless, it 
sometimes slows down the pace of growth for we have to 
weigh the demands of tomorrow with the needs of today in 
the building up of our country. 

A country, which is poor in resources, does not have the 
means to invest for the future and the country is pressed 
between the needs of today and the demands of tomorrow. 
If you want a surplus, you have to be strict with yourself 
in the present. And democracy does not like stinting in 
the present — not usually. In times of great crisis, it might. 
Democracy wants today die good things of today. That is the 
disadvantage of democracy. 

We talk a great deal about democracy but in its present 
shape and form it is a relatively new concept. The old type of 



THE PSYCHOSIS OF FEAR 


349 


democracy was a limited one in many ways. Now we have 
adult suffrage and the biggest electorate in the world. With 
all my admiration and love for democracy, I am not prepared 
to accept the statement that the largest number of people are 
always right. 

We know how people can be excited and their passions 
roused in a moment. Is this House prepared to submit to the 
momentary passion of a democratic crowd? Was not 
democracy functioning five and a half years ago when people 
were killing one another and millions of them were migrat- 
ing to escape from atrocities and horror? I do not blame 
those poor people but I do say that even democracy can go 
mad; democracy can be incited to do wrong. Demociacy, in 
fact, is sometimes more warlike than individuals who at least 
have some training. 

In any case, we have to build India according to demo- 
cratic methods. We have decided to do so because we feel that 
democracy offers society something of the highest human 
values. But war puts an end to the very values that demo- 
cracy cherishes. Democracy, in fact, is a casualty of war in the 
world today. It does not seem to function properly any more. 
That has been the tragedy of the last two world wars and 
something infinitely worse is likely to happen if there is 
another war. 

I would beg hon. Members to take this fact into consider- 
ation. I have no objection to their criticizing the Government 
or even condemning it but they must not help in creating an 
atmosphere of depression and frustration in the country. 
The psychology of the people is more important than any 
decree of the Government. My personal impression of the 
country cannot, perhaps, be a hundred per cent true of the 
whole country. But I know something of my people. I make 
an effort to understand them and it has been my high 
privilege to have their affection and confidence. During the 
last five or six months I have found that people, in their 
enthusiasm, have sometimes undertaken almost all the plans 
that we have put forward and often voluntarily. The few 
hundred miles of road they have made or the tanks they have 
dug are, of course, important in themselves. But infinitely 



350 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1 953 


more important is the spirit which went into this work. That 
is the spirit we count on; that is that spirit which will make 
the Five Year Plan and our other plans a success. 

I referred just now to the Five Year Plan. Many hon. 
Members have criticized it. As I have said before, there is 
nothing sacrosanct about the Plan. We have laid down certain 
policies about land, food, etc. I think they are good policies. 
Convince us to the contrary and we will change them. But 
it is no good telling us to do things which are beyond our 
resources. We are prepared to take risks but intelligent risks. 
We cannot gamble with the heavy responsibility of carrying 
out this Plan. Even so, legitimate risks have certainly to be 
taken, for we realize that the policy of being too cautious is 
the greatest risk of all. An hon. Member mentioned our 
industrial policy. We believe that it is essential for India to be 
industrialized. We also believe that our industrial policy 
should be based on the development of basic industries like 
steel and so on. But we realize that our industrial develop- 
ment must have the foundation of a strong agricultural 
economy if it is to endure. Even if that were not so, the aspect 
of food as such is important enough; if we do not have food 
in the country and have to depend on other countries, it will 
be an ill day for us. We must aim at being self-sufficient in 
food; otherwise any industrial structure we build up will 
topple over. 

I was just saying that the community projects have been 
in existence for the last two or three months. Some are func- 
tioning extraordinarily well, some moderately well, others 
not well at all. But, on the whole, I think we are doing 
satisfactorily. 

May I say a few words in regard to the subject which 
completely occupied Dr Mookerjee during his speech 
yesterday? He spoke on the Praja Parishad agitation in 
Jammu. I have no doubt that it is a matter of importance but 
we should always assess the relative importance of things. 
When we draw’ up a plan, it pays us to give priority to certain 
things and attend to them first. We cannot do everything at 
once. An eminent person said long ago, that you cannot 
discard truth but it makes all the difference in the world 



THE PSYCHOSIS OF FEAR 


351 


whether you put truth in the first place or iirthe second. 
Similarly, in considering a problem, whether it is political or 
economic, the order of priorities you give is most important, 
especially for this House, since it has to shoulder the burden 
of the governance of India. It is true that we have to think 
of the details also but if once we lose sight of the whole, then 
we' are lost in a maze. 

The hon. Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee was very indignant 
at the abuse hurled at him and his colleagues. The only thing 
he could resent is that he was called communal. First of all, 
let me express my pleasure at the discovery that he considers 
communalism an abusive term. I hope he will gradually 
convert his colleagues to the same point of view. 1 seem to 
remember that at one time he took pride in being communal. 

An hon. Member talked of the ‘right type’ of communa- 
lism. I am afraid I do not understand what he means. We 
remember the occurrences in the autumn of 1947. And 
finally, we also remember January 30, when the greatest of 
us was shot down by a foolish youth. 1 do not quite know 
how the hon. Member interprets the last thirty years of 
India’s history. The normal analysis has been that there are, 
in India, various kinds of forces. There are some Rightists, 
some Leftists and others that are neither. The Rightist groups 
have gradually found that they could not be effective in a 
purely social sphere. They have, therefore, taken advantage 
of the cloak of religion to cover up their reactionary policies, 
have exploited the name of religion in politics and have 
excited people’s passions in that name. This was done with a 
tremendous degree of success by the Muslim League. It was 
done by some Hindu and Sikh organizations also. There is a 
basic weakness in us as a national community. Our caste 
system, our provincialism and our regionalism have all 
encouraged us to live in compartments. I am glad to say 
that we are now growing out of it. I have no doubt that India 
would not have been partitioned but for communalism. 
The narrow outlook of trying to gain a favour for this group 
or that community at the expense of the larger good has 
weakened us in the past. It was only in the measure that we 
got over it — and we got over it in the past on account of 



562 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1955 

our national movement — that we gained our freedom; but we 
did not get over it adequately enough to prevent the parti- 
tion. In the modern world, you cannot employ force in 
dealing with people. You cannot hold them by the bayonet. 
You must hold their minds and their hearts. Of course, you 
can excite them at any moment but in the long run you have 
to win their goodwill. 

We have in India 40 million Muslims — as big a number 
as any other Muslim country has excepting Pakistan and 
Indonesia. Pakistan, in any case, is split up into two. Neither 
East Pakistan nor West Pakistan has as many Muslims as 
India. Any propaganda, that gives these people a sense of 
insecurity or makes them feel that they do not have the same 
opportunities for development and progress as everybody else, 
is an anti-national thing and a communal thing. I submit that 
such propaganda is going on and that there are organizations 
in the country whose sole purpose seems to be to promote it. 

An hon. Member talked a great deal about the full 
integration of Jammu and Kashmir State with India. I think 
that the proper integration of India is a major question and 
I give it the highest priority. Compared to it, I would give 
even the Five Year Plan the second priority. By integration 
I do not only mean constitutional and legal integration but 
the integration of the minds and hearts of the people of India. 
We have inherited a strong tradition of unity, built largely on 
two contradictory factors. The first was our subjection to 
British rule and the other the national movement. An hon. 
Member has suggested Hindu culture as a third factor but he 
is mistaken. What he is saying is important in another context 
and not in that of political unity. It led to cultural unity, 
which is a different thing entirely. We are talking about 
political unity at the moment. We have also, it must be 
admitted, inherited powerful disruptive tendencies. The 
question is, whether the unifying influence will prove to be 
stronger than the disruptive forces. I believe that the unifying 
influence is stronger. The danger is that people, who do not 
give much thought to this, feel secure in a false sense of unity. 
They pursue disruptive tendencies till they have gone too far 
and reach a point where they cannot be checked. That is 



THE PSYCHOSIS OF FEAR 


S5S 


why the integration of the minds and hearts of the people of 
India is vital. That is not a matter the law can settle. The law 
and the constitution should come in to register the decrees of 
the mind and the heart. That is the point of view from which 
the question of Jammu and Kashmir should be approached. 

An.hon. Member repeatedly said that I had refused to 
meet the Praja Parishad people and that 1 treated them as 
political untouchables. About a year ago I did, as a matter 
of fact, meet the President of the Praja Parishad, Pandit 
Premnath Dogra. I met him here in Delhi and had a long talk 
with him. Of course, the present agitation had not started 
but there were some minor agitations. We talked of important 
matters affecting Jammu and Kashmir and it seemed »o me 
that he had accepted my viewpoint and agreed to what I 
said. I had told him that his method of approach was bad 
for Jammu and Kashmir State and for Jammu specially and 
also for the objective he sought to achieve. Two days later, I 
saw a statement in the press that had been issued by him. To 
my amazement, it said the opposite of what he had given me 
to understand. The statement gave the impression that I had 
accepted his argument. Letters were sent to tell him that it 
was very wrong of him to have done that. The incident 
made me feel that he was not a safe person to see often because 
he would exploit every meeting and I would have to explain 
each time what had happened. About two months later, he 
asked to see me and I sent word that our last interview had 
not been a success, had, in fact, created difficulties and since 
I was also busy with my duties in Parliament I could not see 
him. There was no third occasion when such a question had 
arisen. I should like to read a few lines from the report of a 
speech delivered in the other House, not by a member of our 
Party but by a very eminent Member of the Opposition, 
Acharya Narendra Dev. That, surely, must be an objective 
analysis because it is by a person who has no desire merely to 
support the Government. That is what he said: 

"The other question, Sir, is the delicate question of 
Kashmir. 1 am not competent to pronounce any 
authoritative opinion on this matter but I will say with 
a full sense of responsibility that it is a communal 



354 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


agitation, that the Parishad is the old R.S.S. It opposed 
the land reform movement. It supported the Maharaja 
in the days of old and when the R.S.S. was suppressed, 
it assumed a new name overnight and is masquerading 
under the name of the Praja Parishad. I say that this 
agitation is ill-timed, ill-conceived and is calculated to 
render the greatest injury to our larger interests.” 

Since I do not wish to be unfair to the House, I will add 
that subsequently Acharya Narendra Dev went on to say: 

“ It has assumed a mass character in that area and 

we have to find out the actual reasons which have led 
these masses to be thrown into the net of communalists. 

I want the communalist leaders to be isolated from the 
masses. And we should, therefore, try to understand 
with sympathy the reasons, however wrong they may 
be, which have led a large number of people to join the 
communal forces in the country.” 

The hon. Member referred to the Militia in this connec- 
tion and said that it consisted mostly of Muslims. As a matter 
of fact, the total number of the militia in the State is 5,720. 
The figures are: Muslims — 1,859; Hindus — 2,763; Buddhists 
— 456; Sikhs — 618; Miscellaneous — I do not quite know 
what ‘Miscellaneous’ means — 24. And what is more, the 
militia in Jammu is largely Hindu. The fact of the matter is 
that in the past no Kashmiri, Hindu or Muslim, was allowed 
to enter the army. The Kashmiris were sensitive to the fact 
that they were not allowed to enter the army or any semi- 
armed formations like the constabulary. The old Kashmir 
army was full of people from Jammu, Hindus and Muslims 
alike. It is not easy to get a Kashmiri into the militia, for he 
is not used to it; thus a great difficulty has arisen in the 
Kashmir Valley. 

I do not wish to go into the details of the Praja Parishad 
movement. I say that mere repression will not do; I also 
realize that the grievances of the people concerned — I am 
talking about the large number of people, the masses and 
when I say grievances, I am referring to economic grievances 
— must be met. To use the words of Acharya Narendra Dev, 
these people should be separated from the wrong leadership 



THE PSYCHOSIS OF FEAR 


S55 


that has misled them; but this must be left to them to decide. 

It seems to me an extraordinary thing that the agitation of 
a group in Jammu — a large group, if you like — wants to affect 
the Constitution of India, wants to do things that will not 
only affect the State of Jammu and Kashmir but also India 
and her relations with Pakistan and the United Nations! 
It is an' extraordinary demand that we should be called upon 
to give assurances about things that will have powerful and 
far-reaching consequences. This matter was carefully 
considered by the Government of India and the representa- 
tives of the Government of Kashmir and certain agreements 
were arrived at, which we thought, in the circumst nces, 
good and adequate. - 

When I am asked questions about the United Nations I 
am in difficulty. I do not want to go into the question of the 
right and wrong of actions taken four or five years ago. I do 
not want to undo anything or withdraw anything that I have 
said at any time. We have a high reputation and I do not 
think it does any good to a country to beha\e in a manner 
which might discredit it in the slightest degree. We gave our 
pledge to the United Nations in regard to Kashmir. It is 
true, if I may say so, that we have not had a very fair deal. 
Some powerful countries seem to have delighted in putting 
forward propositions to which we cannot agree. This is 
probably because the basis of their thought is different. But 
there it is. 

I have taken an enormous amount of time and I am very 
grateful to this House for the indulgence with which it has 
listened to me. 



ON SCIENCE AND CULTURE 


WHAT IS CULTURE ? 

I have come here with pleasure, because I have always 
looked forward to furthering the cause of India’s cultural 
association, not only with the neighbouring countries to the 
East and West but with the wider world outside. It is not a 
question of merely wanting such cultural association or 
considering it good; it is rather a question of the necessity of 
the situation which is bound to worsen if nothing is done to 
prevent it. I earnestly hope that the formation of the Indian 
Council for Cultural Relations will lead to a better under- 
standing between our people and the peoples of other 
countries. 

There is a great deal of confusion in my mind and I shall 
state quite frankly what it is. All kinds of basic questions crop 
up from what is going on in the world around us. Nations, 
individuals and groups talk of understanding one another 
and it seems an obvious thing that people should try to 
understand one another and to learn from one another. Yet, 
when I look through the pages of history or study current 
events, I sometimes find that people who know one another 
most, quarrel most. Countries, which are next door to one 
another in Europe or in Asia, somehow seem to rub one 
another up the wrong way, though they know one another 
very thoroughly. Thus knowledge, by itself, does not lead to 
greater co-operation or friendship. This is not a new thing. 
Even the long pages of history show that. Has there been 
something wrong in individual nations or in the approach 
to this question? Or is it something else that has not worked 
as it should have done? When we talk of cultural relations, 
the question that immediately arises in my mind is — what 
exactly is the ‘culture’ that people talk so much about? 

Speech at the inauguration of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, 
New Delhi, April 9, 1950 



WHAT IS CULTURE? 


S57 


When I was younger in years, I remember reading about 
German ‘kultur’ and of the attempts of the German people 
to spread it by conquest and other means. There was a big 
war to spread this ‘kultur’ and to resist it. Every country and 
every individual seems to have its peculiar idea of culture. 
When there is talk about cultural relations — although it is 
very good in theory — what actually happens is that those 
peculiar ideas come into conflict and instead of leading to 
friendship they lead to more estrangement. It is a basic 
question — what is culture? And I am certainly not 
competent to give you a definition of it because I have not 
found one. 

One can sec each nation and each separate civil. zation 
developing its own culture that had its roots in generations 
hundreds and thousands of years ago. One sees these nations 
being intimately moulded by the impulse that initially starts 
a civilization going on its long path. That conception is 
affected by other conceptions and one sees action and inter- 
action between these varying conceptions. There is, I suppose, 
no culture in the world which is absolutely pristine, pure and 
unaffected by any other culture. It simply cannot be, just as 
nobody can say that he belongs one hundred per cent to a 
particular racial type, because in the course of hundreds and 
thousands of years unmistakable changes and mixtures have 
occurred. 

So, culture is bound to get a little mixed up, even though 
the basic element of a particular national culture remains 
dominant. If that kind of thing goes on peacefully, there is no 
harm in it. But it often leads to conflicts. It sometimes leads 
a group to fear that their culture is being overwhelmed by 
what they consider to be an outside or alien influence. Then 
they draw themselves into a shell which isolates them and 
prevents their thoughts and ideas going out. That is an 
unhealthy situation, because in any matter and much more 
so in what might be called a cultural matter, stagnation is the 
worst possible thing. Culture, if it has any value, must have 
a certain depth. It must also have a certain dynamic 
character. After all, culture depends on a vast number of 
factors. If we leave out what might be called the basic mould 

24—11 DPD/65 



358 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


that was given to it in the early stages of a nation’s or a 
people’s growth, it is affected by geography, by climate and 
by all kinds of other factors. The culture of Arabia is inti- 
mately governed by the geography and the deserts of Arabia 
because it grew up there. Obviously, the culture of India in 
the old days was affected greatly, as we see in our own litera- 
ture, by the Himalayas, the forests and the great rivers of 
India among other things. It was a natural growth from the 
soil. Of the various domains of culture, like architecture, 
music and literature, any two may mix together, as they 
often did, and produce a happy combination. But where 
there is an attempt to improve something or the other which 
does not naturally grow and mould itself without uprooting 
itself, conflict inevitably arises. Then also comes something 
which to my mind is basically opposed to all ideas of culture. 
And that is the isolation of the mind and the deliberate 
shutting up of the mind to other influences. My own view of 
India’s history is that we can almost measure the growth and 
the advance of India and the decline of India by relating 
them to periods when India had her mind open to the outside 
world and when she wanted to close it up. The more she 
closed it up, the more static she became. Life, whether of the 
individual, group, nation or society, is essentially a dynamic, 
changing, growing thing. Whatever stops that dynamic 
growth also injures it and undermines it. 

We have had great religions and they have had an 
enormous effect on humanity. Yet, if I may say so with all 
respect and without meaning any ill to any person, those very 
religions, in the measure that they made the mind of man 
static, dogmatic and bigoted, have had, to my mind, an evil 
effect. The things they said may be good but when it is 
claimed that the last word has been said, society becomes 
static. 

The individual human being or race or nation must 
necessarily have a certain depth and certain roots some- 
where. They do not count for much unless they have roots in 
the past, which past is after all the accumulation of genera- 
tions of experience and some type of wisdom. It is essential 
that you hat e that. Otherwise you become just pale copies of 



WHAT IS CULTURE ? 


359 


something which has no real meaning to you as an individual 
or as a group. On the other hand, one cannot live in roots 
alone. Even roots wither unless they come out in the sun and 
the free air. Only then can the roots give you sustenance. 
Only then can there be a branching out and a flowering. 
•How,., then, are you to balance these two essential factors? 
It is very difficult, because some people think a great deal 
about the flowers and the leaves on the branches, forgetting 
that they only flourish because there is a stout root to sustain 
them. Others think so much of the roots that no flowers or 
leaves or branches are left; there is only a thick stern some- 
where. So, the question is how one is to achieve a balance. 

Does culture mean some inner growth in the man? Of 
course, it must. Docs it mean the way he behaves to others? 
Certainly it must. Docs it mean the capacity to understand 
the other person? I suppose so. Does it mean the capacity to 
make yourself understood by the other person? I suppose so 
It means all that. A person who cannot undei stand another’s 
viewpoint is to that extent limited in mind and culture, 
because nobody, perhaps, barring some very extraordinary 
human beings, can presume to have the fullest knowledge 
and wisdom. The other party or the other group may also 
have some inkling of knowledge or wdsdom or truth and if 
we shut our minds to that then we not only deprive ourselves 
of it but we cultivate an attitude of mind which, I would 
say, is opposed to that of a cultured man. The cultured mind, 
rooted in itself, should have its doors and windows open. It 
should have the capacity to understand the other’s view- 
point fully even though it cannot always agree with it. The 
question of agreement or disagreement only arises when you 
understand a thing. Otherwise, it is blind negation which is 
not a cultured approach to any question. 

I should like to use another word — science. What is a 
scientific approach to life’s problems? I suppose it is one of 
examining everything, of seeking truth by trial and error and 
by experiment, of never saying that this must be so but trying 
to understand why it is so and, if one is convinced of it, of 
accepting it, of having the capacity to change one's notions 
the moment some other proof is forthcoming, of having an 



360 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 

open mind, which tries to imbibe the truth wherever it is 
found. If that is culture, how far is it represented in the 
modern world and in the nations of today? Obviously, if it 
was represented more than it is, many of our problems, 
national and international, would be far easier to solve. 

Almost every country in the world believes that it has 
some special dispensation from Providence, that it is of the 
chosen people or race and that others, whether they are good 
or bad, are somewhat inferior creatures. It is extraordinary 
how this kind of feeling persists in all nations of the East as 
well as of the West without exception. The nations of the 
East are strongly entrenched in their own ideas and convic- 
tions and sometimes in their own sense of superiority about 
certain matters. Anyhow, in the course of the last two or three 
hundred years, they have received many knocks on the head 
and they have been humiliated, they have been debased and 
they have been exploited. And so, in spite of their feeling that 
they were superior in many ways, they were forced to admit 
that they could be knocked about and exploited. To some 
extent, this brought a sense of realism to them. There was 
also an attempt to escape from reality by saying that it was 
sad that we were not so advanced in material and technical 
things but that these were after all superficial things; 
nevertheless, we were superior in essential things, in spiritual 
things, in moral values. I have no doubt that spiritual things 
and moral values are ultimately more important than other 
things but the way one finds escape in the thought that one 
is spiritually superior, simply because one is inferior in a 
material and physical sense, is surprising. It does not follow 
by any means. It is an escape from facing up to the causes 
of one’s degradation. 

Nationalism, of course, is a curious phenomenon which at 
a certain stage in a country’s history gives life, growth, 
strength and unity but, at the same time, it has a tendency to 
limit one, because one thinks of one's country as something 
different from the rest of the world. The perspective changes 
and one is continuously thinking of one’s own struggles and 
virtues and failings to the exclusion of other thoughts. The 
result is that the same nationalism, which is the symbol of 



WHAT IS CULTURE ? 


361 


growth for a people, becomes a symbol of the cessation of that 
growth in the mind. Nationalism, when it becomes successful, 
sometimes goes on spreading in an aggressive way and 
becomes a danger internationally. Whatever line of thought 
you follow, you arrive at the conclusion that some kind of 
balance must be found. Otherwise something that was good 
can turn into evil. Culture, which is essentially good, becomes 
not only static but aggressive and something that breeds 
conflict and hatred when looked at from a wrong point of 
view. How you are to find a balance, I do not know. Apart 
from the political and economic problems of the age, perhaps, 
that is the greatest problem today, because behind it Uiere is 
a tremendous conflict in the spirit of man and a tremendous 
search for something which it cannot find. We 'urn to 
economic theories because they have an undoubted 
importance. It is foil) to talk of culture or c\en of God when 
human beings starve and die. Before one can talk about 
an) thing else one must provide the normal essentials of life 
to human beings. That is where economics comes in. Human 
beings today are not in the mood to tolerate this suffering and 
starvation and inequality when they sec that the burden is 
not equally shared. Others profit while they only bear the 
burden. 

We have inevitably to deal with these problems in 
economic and other ways but I do think that behind it all 
there is a tremendous psychological problem in the minds of 
the people. It may be that some people think about it cons- 
ciously and deliberately and others rather unconsciously and 
dimly but that this conflict exists in the spirit of man today is 
certain. How it will be resolved, I do not know. One thing 
that troubles me is this: people who understand one another 
more and more begin often enough to quarrel more and 
more. Nevertheless, it docs not follow from this that we 
should not try to understand one another. That would 
amount to limiting oneself completely and that is something 
which really cannot be done in the context of the modern 
world. Therefore, it becomes essential that we try to under- 
stand one another in the right way. The right way is 
important. The right approach, the friendly approach, is 



JAWAHARLAl. NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


important, because a friendly approach brings a friendly 
response. I have not the shadow of a doubt that it is a funda- 
mental rule of human life that, if the approach is good, the 
response is good. If the approach is bad, the response is likely 
to be bad, too. So, if we approach our fellow human beings or 
countries in a friendly w T ay, with our minds and hearts open 
and prepared to accept whatever good comes to them — and 
that docs not mean surrendering something that we consider 
of essential value to truth or to our own genius — then we 
shall be led not only towards understanding but the right 
type of understanding. 

So, I shall leave you to determine what culture and 
wisdom really are. We grow in learning, in knowledge and in 
experience, till we have such an enormous accumulation of 
them that it becomes impossible to know exactly where we 
stand. We arc overwhelmed by all this and, at the same time, 
somehow or other wc ha\c a feeling that all these put together 
do not necessarily represent a growth in the wisdom of the 
human race. I have a feeling that perhaps some people who 
did not have all the advantages of modern life and modern 
science were essentially wiser than most of us are. Whether 
or not we shall be able in later times to combine all this 
knowledge, scientific growth and betterment of the human 
species with true wisdom, I do not know. It is a race between 
various forces. I am reminded of the saying of a very wise 
man who was a famous Greek poet: 

What else is Wisdom? What of man’s endeavour or 
God’s high grace, so lovely and so great? 

To stand from fear set free, to breathe and wait, 

To hold a hand uplifted over Hate, 

And shall not Loveliness be loved for ever? 

THE SPIRIT OF SCIENCE 

I n the course of less than four months, wc have put up, 
declared open or are going to declare open three national 
laboratories. I suppose before this year is out some more 

Speech at the opening ceremony of the Fuel Research Institute, Digwadih, 
April 22, 1950 



THE SPIRIT OF SCIENCE 


S6S 


national laboratories will also be started. This is a great 
venture testifying to the faith which our scientists and, I hope, 
our Government have in science. I suppose the putting up of 
fine and attractive buildings does some service to science; 
nevertheless, buildings do not make science as Dr Raman 
has often reminded us. It is human beings who make science, 
not bricks and mortar. Properly equipped buildings, however, 
help the human being to work efficiently. It is, therefore, 
desirable to have these fine laboratories for trained persons 
to work in and for persons to be trained for future work. 

You, Sir, referred to the spirit of science. I wonder what 
exactly that spirit is and to what extent we agree or d tier in 
our ideas of it. Is science, as is often supposed, a handmaiden 
to industry? It certainly wants to help industry, though not 
merely for the sake of helping industry but also because it 
wants to create work for the nation, so that people may have 
better living conditions and greater opportunities for growth. 
That I suppose will be agreed to but there is something more 
to it. What ultimately does science represent? 

You, Sir, just referred to scientists declaring war on 
nature. May I put it in a different way? We seek the co- 
operation of nature, we seek to uncover the secrets of nature, 
to understand them and to utilize them for the benefit of 
humanity. The active principle of science is discovery. Now, 
what is, if I may ask, the active principle of a social frame- 
work or society? Usually, it stands for conservatism, 
remaining where we are, not changing and carrying on, 
though, of course, with some improvement and further 
additions. Nevertheless, it is a principle of continuity rather 
than of change. So, we come up against a certain inherent 
conflict in society between the co-existing principles of 
continuity and of conservatism and the scientific principle of 
discovery which brings about change and challenges that 
continuity. So the scientific worker, although he is praised 
and patted on the back, is, nevertheless, not wholly approved 
of, because he comes and upsets the status quo of things. 
Normally speaking, science seldom really has the facilities 
that it deserves except when some misfortune comes to a 
country in the shape of war. Then everything has to be set 



364 JAWAHARI.AL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 

aside and science has its way, even though it is for an evil 
purpose. 

It is interesting to see this conflict between the normal 
conservatism of a static society and the normal revolutionary 
tendency of the scientist’s discovery which often changes the 
basis of that society. It changes living conditions and the 
conditions that govern human life and human survival. 

I take it that most people who talk glibly of science, 
including our great industrialists, think of science merely as a 
kind of handmaiden to make their work easier. And so it is. 
Of course, it does make their work easier. It adds to the 
wealth of the nation and betters conditions. All this science 
does do. But surely science is something more than that. The 
history of science shows that it does not simply better the old. 
It sometimes upsets the old. It does not merely add new 
truths to the old ones but sometimes the new truth it discovers 
disintegrates some part of the old truths and thereby upsets 
the way of men’s thinking and the way of their lives. Science, 
therefore, does not merely repeat the old in better ways or 
add to the old but creates something that is new to the world 
and to human consciousness. 

If we pursue this line of thought, what exactly does the 
spirit of science mean? It means many things. It means not 
only accepting the fresh truth that science may bring, not 
only improving the old but being prepared to upset the old 
if it goes against that spirit. It also means no) being tied down 
to something that is old because it is okl, because we have 
carried on with it but being able to accept its disintegration; 
it means not being tied down to a social fabric or an industrial 
fabric or an economic fabric if it goes against the new dis- 
covery. 

Whatever they may say, most countries normally do not 
like to change. The human being is essentially a conservative 
animal. He is used to certain ways of life and any one trying 
to change them meets with his disapproval. Nevertheless, 
change comes and people have to adapt themselves to it; they 
have done so in the past. All countries, as I said, are normally 
conservative. But I imagine that our country is more than 
normally conservative. It is for this reason that I venture to 



THE SPIRIT OF SCIENCE 


965 


place these thoughts before you. I find a curious hiatus in 
people’s thinking. I find it even in the thinking of scientists 
who praise science and practise it in the laboratory but 
discard the ways of science, its method of approach and the 
spirit of science in everything else they do in life. They become 
completely unscientific. If we approach science in the proper 
way, it does some good and there is no doubt that it will 
always do some good. It teaches us new ways of doing things. 
Perhaps, it improves our conditions of industrial life but the 
basic thing that science should do is to teach us to think 
straight, to act straight and not to be afraid of discarding 
anything or of accepting anything, provided the'e are 
sufficient reasons for doing so. I should like our country to 
understand and appreciate that idea all the mote, because in 
the realm of thought our country in the past has, in a sense, 
been singularly free and it has not hesitated to look down the 
deep well of liutli whatever it might contain. Nevertheless, 
in spite ol such a free mind, our country enc umbered itself 
to such an extent in matters of social practice that its growth 
was hindered and is hindered in a hundred ways even today. 
Our customs are just ways of looking at little things that 
govern our lives and have no significant meaning. Even then, 
these customs come in our way. Now that we have attained 
independence, there is naturally a resurgence of all kinds of 
new forces, both good and bad; good forces are, of course, 
liberated by a sense of freedom but along with them there are 
also a number of forces which, under the guise of what people 
call culture, narrow our minds and our outlook. These forces 
are essentially a restriction and denial of any real kind of 
culture. Culture is the widening of the mind and of the spirit. 
It is never a narrowing of the mind or a restriction of the 
human spirit or of the country’s spirit. Therefore, if we look 
at science in the real way and if we think of these research 
institutes and laboratories in a fundamental sense, then they 
are something more than just little ways of improving things 
and of finding out how this or that should be done. Of course, 
we have to do that, too. But these institutes must gradually 
affect our minds, not only the minds of the young men and 
young women who would work heie but also the minds of 



366 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 

others, more specially the minds of the rising generation, 
so that the nation may imbibe the spirit of science and be 
prepared to accept the new truth, even though it has to 
discard something of the old. Only then will this approach to 
science bear true fruit. It is because we attach importance to 
these research institutes that we have ventured to ask you, 
Sir, Mr President, to take the trouble to come all the way 
here to open this third of our great national laboratories and 
we are very grateful to you that you have taken the trouble to 
do so. 1 am sure that your visit here and the visits of the 
many distinguished scientists will prove a blessing to this 
institute. Besides, it will help to draw people’s attention not 
only to the external applications and implications of science 
but to its real value which lies in widening the spirit of man 
and thereby bettering humanity at large. 


SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH 

Y our Highness, I should just like to say how happy I am 
to be present at the inauguration of the Science Cong- 
ress. As Your Highness has said, I made rather special efforts 
to be here as 1 shall be leaving for England in a few hours. I 
want to tell you that certain changes have recently taken place 
in the Central Government. Perhaps, you know that a new 
Ministry called the Ministry of Natural Resources and 
Scientific Research has been formed. I hope this will be 
welcomed by this Congress and bv the eminent scientists who 
are present on this occasion. 

Ever since my association with the Government began, I 
have felt the need for encouraging scientific work and research 
and have, for that purpose, concerned myself with important 
organizations like the Board of Scientific and Industrial 
Research of which I am Chairman. I have also been closely 
associated with the Atomic Energy Commission. That does 
not mean that I know very much about science or atomic 


Inaugural address at the Indian Science Congress, Bangalore, January 2, 1951 



SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH 


367 


energy. But I felt and it was agreed that it would be helpful 
if I were sometimes to play the part of a show boy. My 
association, therefore, did help these organizations in their 
dealings with the Government. I have also been, during 
these past three years, Minister in charge of Scientific 
Research. Now that the new Ministry of Natural Resources 
and' Scientific Research has been formed, it will, of course, 
include the Department of Scientific Research as also many 
other important departments. My very old friend and 
colleague, Sri Sri Prakasa, will be in charge of its activities. 
That does not mean that I shall cease to be in charge of any- 
thing. If I may say so, with all respect to my colleagues, my 
over-all charge in a sense continues as far as scientific work is 
concerned and I propose to take a deep interest in it. 

My interest largely consists in trying to make the Indian 
people anil even the Government of India conscious of 
scientific work and the necessity for it. The work is not really 
done by me but by my eminent colleagues here who have 
helped to give such a great place to science in India. I wish 
to assure you that, as far as I am concerned, I shall help in 
every was the progress of scientific research and the appli- 
cation of science to our problems in India. 

Dr Bhatnagar has been very intimately connected with all 
this work as Secretary of the Department of Scientific 
Research. He will now continue that association in a larger 
field and I am quite sure that this will be of great benefit 
to science. 1 am particularly happy to be here today because 
this session of the Science Congress is going to be presided 
over by my dear friend and colleague, Dr Bhabha. It is not 
for me to tell you of his achievements and plans, which are 
both great. It has been a great pleasure for me to work with 
him in various ways and more especially in the Atomic 
Energy Commission. 

I now proceed to inaugurate the 38th session of the 
Indian Science Congress and the first session of the Pan- 
Indian Ocean Science Congress. 



THE CRISIS OF MAN 


M r Chairman, Mr Director-General, Excellencies, Ladies 
and Gentlemen, almost exactly two } ears ago, in this very 
hall, I had the privilege of inaugurating the first session of 
the Indian National Commission of UNESCO. Now we meet 
here again and I am called upon to undertake the same 
duty. I do so with great pleasure and consider it an honour 
and a privilege that you have associated me with others in 
)our work. On behalf of the Government of India, I should 
like to welcome all those eminent men and women of learn- 
ing and goodwill who have assembled here from various 
parts of the world. T should like more specially to welcome 
you, Sir, Mr Director-General, who have graced this occa- 
sion with )our presence. As our distinguished Chairman 
said just now, we were looking forward to having you in our 
midst, to confer with you, to learn from you what we should 
do and, perhaps, to make some suggestions to you and tell 
you what we have in our minds. You are welcome because 
}ou are the head of a great organization which holds out 
promise for the future and which has already substantial 
achievement to its credit. You are also welcome. Sir, if I may 
say so, as the representative of a country which, though very 
far away from us, seems strangely akin to us in many ways. 
When we look towards that country, we see friendly eyes and 
a spirit of understanding and comradeship You have played 
a distinguished role in that country and as such also we 
welcome you. May I say that, as Foreign Minister of our 
country, it has been a great pleasure for me to have helped 
recently in the exchange of Ambassadors between your 
country and ours? I hope this will bring closer understanding 
and co-operation between us. 

In inaugurating this conference, I do not quite know 
what you all expect me to say. I have been asked to come here 
and address you almost in my official capacity as Prime 
Minister; and I suppose I cannot easily get away from it. But 
I am something other than a Prime Minister too. I am also a 

Address at the UNESCO Indian National Commission, New Delhi, March 24, 

1951 



THE CRISIS OF MAN 


human being. I hope Prime Ministers are also normally, if 
not always, human beings. I often find myself struggling for 
some light, for a vision of what one should do, for a glimpse 
of the truth and of the pathway to the truth. You feel and I 
feel that it is unbecoming for a Prime Minister to confess to 
these struggles and conflicts, because a Prime Minister must 
be sure, be of set purpose and should know exactly what he 
should do and how he should do it. But forgetting for the 
moment that I happen to be the Prime Minister of this great 
country, I want for a few minutes to address you as friends in 
a common quest and to share with you some of mv own 
difficulties, because I feel that those difficulties are present 
not only in my mind but in your minds also and pos>ibly in 
minds of innumerable human beings all over the world. 

UNESCO represents a great ideal. You read through its 
objects, its Charter or the speeches that are made on various 
occasions. You see a list of what it has done and what it seeks 
to do. Most of you may criticize something here and there 
but you will agree that it essentially represents a great ideal to 
which every person of goodwill, Who wants this world to 
progress along right lines, must necessarily subscribe. 

While you discuss different phases of activity in your 
different sections, a doubt arises in my mind and it is this: 
how far are our different forms of activity meeting what might 
be called the essential crisis within? That crisis may be 
represented in many ways but essentially it is a crisis of the 
spirit of man. We all suffer from it, provided we are sensitive 
enough to what is happening around us. 

Here, in India, many of utf grew up under two great 
traditions — I may say, India grew up under two great 
traditions — embodied in two mighty men, Gandhi and 
Tagore. These two men gave birth to India as she is today. 
We are their children in thought — very imperfect, very 
foolish children but their children, nevertheless. Both of 
them, though vastly different, sprang from the soil and 
culture of India and are rooted in the ten thousand year old 
Indian tradition — both so different but both reminding us 
of the innumerable facets of India. Both were typically 
Indian, both so different and yet so alike. They represented 



370 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 

the ideal of young India — the ideal which I had in my 
young days and which possibly many people still have. And 
yet I find that those two men somehow seem very distant 
now. Though we speak of them very often, we have fallen 
into different ways of thinking and taken to other ideals. 
Instead of that mighty spirit of creative effort and faith and 
hope, which those men in their own different ways 
represented in the modern age, India as also other countries, 
begin to represent more and more a spirit of denial and 
destruction. If that is the spirit of the modern age, what will 
your activities in your various sections, schools, seminars, 
conferences and congresses be worth? What will they be 
worth if some dark cloud were to hover above you and 
envelop you at any time? This is very likely. I remember 
the meeting of the League of Nations in Geneva in the year 
1938. There were innumerable other organs of the League 
of Nations also meeting there. At that time, Europe was 
shaken by the fear of war. There were war clouds in the 
Sudetenland and Czechoslovakia and all kinds of threats 
and ultimatums were in the air; people rushed from London 
or from Paris to this place or that. At that time, in Geneva, I 
found these commissions and committees working calmly as 
if they were oblivious of everything else. They could not, of 
course, stop what was happening and a year later the 
committees, the commissions and the League of Nations 
itself were all overwhelmed by events which they could not 
understand or control. I wondered then how a great organiza- 
tion like the League of Nations, after twenty years or more 
of very good work indeed, had been swept away by some- 
thing which it could not control. 

And so, a fear creeps into my mind: are all our labours 
possibly going to be swept away by something totally beyond 
our control? If so, is it not more desirable to control that 
something or try to control it, rather than try and live in an 
ivory tower, doing good work, no doubt, but doing work 
which somehow does not touch the essence of things? That 
is one of the difficulties that confronts me. 

We have suddenly emerged into a new age. Of course, 
every age is a new age but, I suppose, it is correct to say that 



THE CRISIS OF MAN 


S71 


this age of ours is especially so; and the symbol of the age is 
the atom bomb or atomic energy, if you like, but it is well to 
remember that today atomic energy is thought of in terms 
of atom bombs only. And if the atom bomb is the symbol of 
this age, then everything is conditioned by that symbol — 
mail's .-thinking, man’s fears and everything else. 

We seem to live under this shadow. Are we, with the very 
proud and magnificent edifice of our civilization, nearing the 
afternoon or evening of this civilization? Have we lost the 
creative spirit? Have we lost the energy and faith that go 
with the dawn of civilizations? Can we recapture that 
spirit of the dawn in this afternoon and convert it into some- 
thing other than what it is today or is it inevitable that the 
afternoon will be followed by the evening and then by the 
shades of night? I do not know but my mind struggles with 
this problem. It also struggles with the smaller problems of 
the day, for we cannot ignore them. The problem of our 
civilization, however, is the major question mark of the day. 
How are we to meet these problems? UNESCO says, by 
education, science and culture. Of course. How else? And 
yet we find that education, as our distinguished Chairman 
has just told us, has been leading us into wrong channels. 
We find science perverted to serve evil ends. We find that 
culture, instead of being something that broadens our vision 
and gives us wisdom, sometimes actually narrows us and 
engenders wars. It is not culture but the slogan of culture that 
is used anyhow and each person who uses it means some- 
thing quite different by it. Thus, the very things that ought 
to help us in solving the world’s problems, namely, education, 
science and culture, become barriers to that solution. How 
are we to get over these difficulties? Surely, not by denying 
them or by saying that education, science and culture are no 
good. Certainly not, because, after all, they are the only 
available means for us to forge ahead, understand and solve 
these problems. Therefore, we have to adhere to them and 
yet, while adhering, we have to realize that these words often 
become debased in our mouths and in our activities, more 
especially in the field of politics, where every noble word or 
sentiment man has ever invented or thought of becomes 



372 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


base coin. UNESCO, I understand, is carrying on, here in 
India and possibly elsewhere, investigations into what is 
called the problem of tensions. They study all kinds of ten- 
sions; tensions between capital and labour, tensions between 
communities, between groups and so many other tensions, of 
which the world is full today. I wonder if it would not be a 
worthy exercise for UNESCO to study them at Lake Success. 
Why not study them at the UN headquarters? Why not 
study them in the various Chancelleries of the world, since 
they are the root cause of the tensions of the world today and 
not those people who occasionally might, in a fit of excite- 
ment, break a few heads. They are fortunately few but those 
who sit in the Chancelleries are preparing to break millions 
and billions of heads. How then are we going to stop that? 
Surely not by studying the petty problems of the market 
place or of some obscure corners of the world, when this major 
problem overshadows the world. I’ am placing before you in 
all humility the problems that confront me. I may tell you 
that when I think of these problems, all pride of intellect 
goes, because I have seen intellect prostituted to base ends. 
Sometimes, intellect by itself leads to nothing. All pride of 
achievement fades because of this tremendous lack of 
achievement that states us in the face today. I do not know 
what remains in its place. Perhaps, some pride must remain, 
because, as long as there is strength, one must have some 
pride in doing one’s duty, whatever the achievements might 
be. Apart from the personal equation, the big question does 
stare us in the face. How are we, however and wheresoever 
situated, to meet this great problem in this atomic age of 
ours? We find people, nations and statesmen talking in terms 
of the greatest certitude about their being right and about 
their undertaking some moral crusade or other for the 
benefit of mankind. Sometimes, I feel that the world may 
be better off if there were fewer of these modern crusaders 
about. Everyone wants not only to carry on a moral crusade 
in his own environment but to impose his moral crusade 
upon another. When moralities or the objectives of the 
moral crusades differ, conflict inevitably comes. The fact of 
the matter is that in theory there is and there ought to be a 



THE CRISIS OF MAN 


873 


great deal in common between what is considered culture and 
truth. Nevertheless, the world is a place with much variety. 
The great nations of the world have very different back- 
grounds; their historical development has been different; 
even their wants are different today. In a great part of 
contemporary Asia, the primary wants are food, clothing, 
housing and tolerably healthy conditions of living. You 
cannot expect any high flights of culture where the primary 
needs of mankind are not satisfied. People necessarily think of 
these primary needs in a great part of Asia. Other countries 
think differently, because of their different needs and different 
backgrounds. In a country like India, we cannot forget the 
great and glorious past we have had and there is no reason 
why we should forget that past. We try to get rid of the burden 
of that past where it is wrong or out of place to remember it. 
Our roots, however, must necessarily belong to that past. The 
first thing to remember is that, while the world is inevitably 
developing common ways of action and thinking — because 
this has become essential — , inevitably also there are going 
to be differences which we must recognize and allow full 
play, without trying to impose our will on others in order to 
obliterate those differences. I would apply this test even to a 
country like India and much more so when we talk of the 
whole world. Many countries seem to think that it is their 
duty to make others like themselves. 

This is essentially an age of science and technological 
development. This technological development goes ahead 
with an ever increasing tempo and it will no doubt affect the 
lives of men and, perhaps, may end up in their deaths. In 
many ways, it results in a tremendous advance and we can 
say with assurance that many of the problems of past history, 
namely, those of food, clothing, housing and health services 
and all that a human being requires, are capable of solution 
today. There is enough in the world for all and more. There- 
fore, the old cause of conflict no longer exists. Yet, something 
is lacking. The fact is that this technological age has brought 
greater conflicts in its train in spite of its promise of putting 
an end to conflicts. This again is a great contradiction, for 
notwithstanding the continuous talk of peaceful progress, 

25-11 DPO/65 



374 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


co-operation and mutual understanding among nations, we 
move in contrary directions. Our knowing one another 
more, instead o£ making each of us understand and appreciate 
the other, often brings dislike of the other. How can we get 
over these contradictions? I take it that the problem of 
UNESCO is essentially this: how to get over difficulties in 
order to realize its ideals? How to utilize education, science 
and culture in the right way and prevent its exploitation for 
wrong ends? I think that these efforts will not bring success, 
unless somehow or other they can affect this other major 
factor which seems to hang over world affairs today. How it 
can be done, I do not know. 

We live in a period of tremendous potential conflict and 
every nation begins to think more and more in terms of 
survival. When people think in terms of survival, it means 
that they are conditioned by great fear and when the desire 
for survival asserts itself, then logical thinking and the 
reasoning faculties do not even function. Human beings 
forget their humanity, because they are just fighting to escape 
some dreadful terror, struggling to survive and they do not 
care what happens or what they do in order to survive. This 
applies to individuals as well as nations. This struggle for 
survival, which brings out the worst in humanity, is a dread- 
ful prospect. If humanity continues to think in terms of 
encompassing fear and of mere survival, then fear itself will 
inevitably bring out all inhuman instincts. When the real 
struggle for survival comes, few may survive and, possibly, 
those who survive will not be human. 

You will forgive me if I have taken you somewhat outside 
your normal realm of activity and thought but I have felt that 
unless we think of the problem in the context of this broader 
outlook and vision, perhaps, we will be caught in narrow 
grooves of thought and not progress further. 



ON MUSEUMS 


I am grateful to you for inviting me to inaugurate this 
Centenary Celebration because I am deeply interested in 
museums in my own layman’s way. I am not an expert in* 
anything but I have dabbled in a large number of activities. 
I am interested in many things and am even interested in 
experts, though from a distance. It is obvious that experts 
have their use but they often think that they function only 
in a world of experts, with the result that they somehow lose 
touch with the common man or the layman who is not an 
expert. I merely mention this, because I feel that experts 
exist in some upper sphere unconnected with humanity at 
large and very few persons even find their way there except, 
as I said, experts. 

Now, museums I think are very necessary from a variety 
of points of view and some of the most exhilarating times that 
I have spent have been in museums — not in this country but 
chiefly in Europe — and I have always been sorry that I could 
not spend more time there. What exactly a museum is and 
what purpose it serves are questions which can be answered 
in many ways. I suppose it is some kind of congealed history 
or a bit of the past locked up in your cabinets and placed so 
that you may have a glimpse of it. It is a place where you 
collect beautiful objects and it is good to have beautiful 
objects for people to look at. More and more people seem to 
lose all idea of what beauty is and to surround themselves 
with articles which certainly are not beautiful, whatever else 
they may be. It is quite extraordinary how people are losing 
any real appreciation of beauty. What is die reason? I am 
not talking of India only but of many other countries, too; 
whether it is symptomatic of the modern age or not, I do not 
know; but the fact remains that we are becoming more and 
more shoddy. What is worse, however, is that we sometimes 
seem to take pride in this fact. Therefore, it is desirable to 
collect articles of beauty. Even in a matter like children’s 
toys, may I ask why they should be given horrible golliwogs 

Speech at the Centenary celebration of the Madras Government Museum 
and the opening of the National Art Gallery, Madras, November 27, 1951 



376 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


as presents? I do not know. No doubt, children are interested 
in animals and they should have them. "Why not have 
beautiful things and why not train them in the appreciation 
of beauty from their childhood instead of giving them toys 
which are caricatures of what they see? Such toys no doubt 
excite their curiosity but, at the same time, make them 
insensitive to beauty. Because of this tendency, which appears 
to me to be growing throughout the world, because of this 
lack of appreciation of any kind of beauty, it is desirable to 
collect articles of beauty from the past and the present so that 
we may at least have some standard to judge by and so that 
the people who come to the museums may see for a while 
articles of beauty, even though they may not generally see 
them in their daily lives. 

There is another aspect of the museum which I called 
congealed history. Do people go there just to see odd things 
oddly displayed, just to see, as an oddity, something that 
existed five hundred or a thousand years ago or do they go 
to see something that might have significance for them even 
today? I do not know how history is taught because, at 
college, I hardly learnt history in the normal way. I read it 
myself and, therefore, my reading was not guided by experts 
at all. It was casual, though widespread, reading and I was 
fascinated by it. My fascination for history was not in reading 
about odd events that happened in the past but rather in 
its relation to the things that led up to the present. Only 
then did it become alive to me. Otherwise it would have 
been an odd thing unconnected with my life or the world. 
It must somehow be connected in a series — something of 
the past leading to something else and that something else 
leading to the present. Then alone can history live for us. 

Let us apply that to the museum. A museum which is 
really meant to interest and educate must be something which 
connects its objects with the things the visitors are used to 
seeing in their lives and in their environments. It should not 
be just a symbol of the distant, unconnected past. I do not 
know how far our experts think on these lines and prepare 
their museums on these lines. It is not the normal 
antiquarian’s view of things. An antiquarian is necessary, of 



ON MUSEUMS 


S77 


course, to collect these antiquities but an antiquarian who 
himself becomes an antique piece is not much good. He must 
have some relation to the modern world. Then only can we 
make antiquity a living reality in terms of the modern world. 
Forgive me for these personal reflections. It seems to me 
incbrrect for us to treat any period of the past as something 
cut off from subsequent periods or from the present and if I 
look at it that way it does not interest me much. If there is 
the slightest connection between that and my present-day 
thoughts and activities it is a blessing and a matter of interest 
to me. I am giving these rather personal reactions, because 
I think it might interest some of you, gentlemen, esp dally 
those connected with museums. If I may say so tdth all 
humility, the greatest danger in the world is that people, in 
their zeal to specialize, lose all perspective. They become 
specialists at a particular job and very fine specialists at that 
but they lose the larger view of things and, therefore, perhaps 
they may be said to be only specialists and nothing more. 
Some of you may know these lines from Wordsworth: 

A primrose by a river’s brim, 

A yellow primrose was to him 
And it was nothing more. 

They bring to mind the botanist who studies the Latin 
names of flowers but loses all sense of the beauty of flowers. 
In other words, we become experts in something but lack 
wisdom in everything else. In our world, which is so learned 
in so many subjects, there is very little wisdom. Perhaps, 
that is because we all know something about a very little part 
of life and very little about the larger scheme of things. 

Now, coming back to the museum, it is a collection of all 
kinds of things of beauty or things of utility from the past 
and present and should convey to us some idea of the larger 
scheme of life. It should ultimately lead to or at least help in 
an understanding of the present scheme of things. I like the 
museums of antiquity but there is another type of museum 
which perhaps the antiquarians consider to be of a lower 
species. That is the type which may be represented by, let 
us say, Deutsches Museum of Munich and some other 
museums in Paris and London, where one can see modem 



378 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


life, modern activity, the growth of science from the pre- 
scientific period. Such museums are fascinating and contain 
more education than years of courses in college or university. 
They also represent something I should like to see grow as 
part of general education and school or college education. 

Lastly, the whole point of museums, whether they be 
museums of antiquity or museums of modern life, is that 
larger and larger numbers of people should visit them and 
learn from them. They should not be confined to the visiting 
Directors of Museums from other countries. More and more 
people should come and learn and, in fact, facilities for learn- 
ing should be provided. That is to say, some arrangement 
should be made for lectures to be given to ordinary folk who 
come there and for guides to explain to them what these 
things are and arouse their interest in them, especially school 
children and college boys and girls. That is the main purpose 
of museums. I would not very much mind if no adult came to 
the museums, because his mind is made up and is not always 
capable of learning much; but in the formative period of 
childhood and youth, it is essential that people should come to 
museums and learn. Their minds will be affected by the 
objects which they see there. I should like this aspect of 
education through the museums to be developed, not by 
appeals to the public but by encouraging and inviting 
people to come, inviting not only the people who would 
normally come but also those who would not otherwise come, 
persuading them to bring their children and explaining 
things to them so that they may widen their vision and feel 
that the world is a bigger thing than they normally believed 
it to be. As I grow old, I tend to philosophize and dole out 
advice to others. But I am happy to be here to participate in 
the Centenary Celebration of the oldest of India’s museums. 
I hope it will flourish and expand and, if I may say so, 
expand in the direction that I have indicated. 



THE CONCEPT OF MAN 

I am grateful to you for this opportunity of attending the 
last session of this Symposium. I must apologize for not 
having attended the opening session to welcome you all here. 
I looked forward to it greatly, not merely to perform the 
formal .function of opening but rather, as the President 
suggested, to participate in some way in your discussions and 
talks and to try and gather some light from those discussions. 
I was greatly disappointed that I could not do so. It is good of 
you to ask me to speak but I feel somewhat hesitant because 
of the presence of very eminent friends who have come f r om 
distant countries. There are specialists and men and women 
of great experience; and for me to say something about the 
great subject of your debate appears rather presumptuous to 
me. If I had the chance and ihe occasion to attend some of 
your sessions, I would have listened to what was said, perhaps, 
sometimes participated or put a question but mostly listened. 
I would have listened, because I have been anxious to find 
out what you had in your mind and to find out how that 
would help me to understand for myself some of the problems 
that confront us. Most of us, I suppose, are burdened with 
the complexity of our present-day problems. We live our day 
to day lives and face our day to day difficulties but somehow 
that is not enough. One seeks something behind that daily 
round and tries to find out how one can solve the problems 
that affect the world. For one whom circumstances have 
placed in a position of great responsibility, it is particularly 
difficult to avoid thinking about these problems. During the 
last few weeks I have been going about this great country 
and seeing multitudes of human beings, surging masses of 
my countrymen and countrywomen. I have thus invariably 
thought of what was going to happen to these people, what 
they were thinking and in which direction they were going. 
These questions apply to us also because we are in the same 
boat. And then I think of the multitudes in other countries. 
What about those vast masses of human beings? Some of us 
here are functioning on the political plane and presuming to 


Address at the UNESCO symposium, New Delhi, December 20, 1951 



380 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


decide the fate of nations. How far do our decisions affect 
these multitudes? Do we think of them or do we live in some 
upper stratosphere of diplomats and politicians and the like, 
exchanging notes and sometimes using harsh words against 
one another? In the context of this mighty world, its vast 
masses of human beings and the tremendous phase of transi- 
tion through which we are passing, politics becomes rather 
trivial. I have no particular light to throw on tire problems 
that you have been discussing; rather I would like to put 
some of the difficulties that I have in my mind before you and 
I hope that when I have occasion to read some of the reports 
of what you have been saying to each other, perhaps, those 
addresses might help me to understand the methods of 
solving some of these problems. 

Now, one of my chief difficulties is this: somehow it 
seems to me that the modern world is getting completely out 
of tune with what I might call the life of the mind — I am 
leaving out the life of the spirit at the moment. Yet, the 
modern world is entirely the outcome of the life of the mind. 
After all, it is the human mind that has produced everything 
that we see around us and feel around us. Civilization is the 
product of the human mind and yet, strangely enough, one 
begins to feel that the function of the mind becomes less and 
less important in the modern world or, at any rate, is no 
longer so important as it used to be. The mind may count 
for a great deal in specialized domains; it does and so we make 
great progress in those specialized domains of life but, 
generally speaking, the mind as a whole counts for less and 
less. That is my impression. If it is a correct impression, 
then there is something radically wrong with the civilization 
that we are building or have built. The changes that are so 
rapidly taking place emphasize other aspects of life and 
somehow prevent the mind from functioning as it should and 
as perhaps it used to do in the earlier periods of the world's 
history. If that is true, then surely it is not a good outlook for 
the world, because the very basis on which our civilization 
has grown, on which man has risen step by step to the great 
heights on which he stands today, the very foundation of 
that edifice, is shaken. 



THE CONCEPT OF MAN 


581 


In India we are more particularly concerned about the 
primary necessities of life for our people. We are concerned 
with food for our people, with clothing, shelter and housing 
for our people, with education, health and so on. Unless you 
have these primary necessities, it seems futile to me to talk 
about the life of the mind or the life of the spirit. You cannot 
talk of God to a starving person; you must give him food. 
One must deal with these primary necessities, it is true. 
Nevertheless, even in dealing with them one has to have some 
kind of ideal or objective in view. If that ideal or objective 
somehow becomes less and less connected with the growth 
of the human mind, then there must be something ’ .'rong. 

I do not know if what I say is true or whether you agi ee with 
it and I do not know, even if it is true, what can be done to 
improve it. 

I am, if I may say so, a great admirer of the achieve- 
ments of modern civilization, of the growth of and 
applications of science and of technological growth. Humanity 
has every reason to be proud of them and yet if these achieve- 
ments lessen the capacity for future growth — and that will 
happen if the mind deteriorates — then surely there is some- 
thing wrong about this process. It is obvious that ultimately 
the mind should dominate. I am not mentioning the spirit 
again but that comes into the picture, too. If the world suffers 
from mental deterioration or from moral degradation, then 
something goes wrong at the very root of civilization or 
culture. Even though that civilization may drag out for a 
considerable period, it grows less and less vital and ultimately 
tumbles down. When I look back on the periods of past 
history, I find certain periods very outstanding. They show 
great achievements of the human mind, while some others 
do not. One finds races achieving a high level and then 
apparently fading away — at least fading away from the 
point of view of their achievements. And so I wonder whether 
something that led to the fading away of relatively high 
cultures is not happening today and producing an inner 
weakness in the structure of our modern civilization. 

Then the question arises in my mind as to which environ- 
ment is likely to produce the best type of human being. 



382 


JAWAHARLAl. NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


You talk about education and that obviously is very 
important. But apart from school or college education, the 
entire environment that surrounds us naturally affects the 
development of the human being. What kind of environ- 
ment has produced these great ages of history? Are we 
going towards that environment or going away from it, in 
spite of the great progress that we have made in many 
departments of human life? The Industrial Revolution 
that started about 200 years ago brought about enormous 
changes, largely for the good. That process, I take it, 
is continuing and the tempo of change becomes faster and 
faster. Where is it leading us to? It has led us in one 
direction towards great conflicts and possibly greater conflicts 
are in store for us which threaten to engulf a large part of 
humanity in a common cataclysm. 

There is an essential contradiction in this race between 
progress and building up on the one hand and this element on 
the other, which is likely to destroy all that we have built 
up. Most of us seem to live as if both are inevitable and have 
to be put up with. It is very odd that we wish to build and 
build and build and at the same time look forward to the 
possible destruction of all that we build. The destruction 
may externally be through war but what is perhaps more 
dangerous is the inner destruction of the mind and spirit, 
after which the destruction of the outer emblems cf the mind 
and spirit may follow. Is it, I wonder, some resultant of the 
growth of the Industrial Revolution that is over-reaching 
itself? Have we lost touch with the roots that give strength 
to a race, humanity or the individual just as a city dweller, 
perhaps, loses touch with the soil and sometimes even with 
the sun, living an artificial life in comfort and even in luxury? 
He lacks something that is vital to the human being. So 
whole races begin more and more to live an artificial life, 
cut off, if I may say so, from the soil and the sun. Is 
that not so? These ideas trouble me. This growth of a 
mechanical civilization, which has obviously brought great 
triumphs and helped the world so much, gradually affects 
the man and the mind. The mind which produced the 
machine to help itself gradually becomes a slave of that 



THE CONCEPT OF MAN 


583 


machine and we progressively become a mechanically minded 
race. 

I suppose the vitality of a group, an individual or a society 
is measured by the extent to which it possesses courage and, 
above all, creative imagination. If that creative imagination 
is. lacking, our growth becomes more and more stunted, 
which is a sign of decay. What then is happening today? 
Are we trying to improve in this respect or are we merely 
functioning somewhere on the surface without touching the 
reality which is afflicting the world and which may result in 
political conflict, in economic warfare or in world war? 

So, when there are discussions on the concept of ir, an as 
visualized in the Eastern ideal or the Western ideal, they 
interest me greatly from a historical point of view and from 
a cultural point of view, although I have always resisted 
this idea of dividing the world into the Orient and the 
Occident. I do not believe in sucli divisions. There have, of 
course, been differences in racial and national outlook and in 
ideals but to talk of the East and the West as such has little 
meaning. The modern West, meaning thereby a great part of 
Europe and tire Americas, has, more especially during the 
last 200 years or so, developed a particular type of civilization 
which is based on certain traditions derived from Greece and 
Rome. It is, however, the tremendous industrial growth that 
has made the West what it is. I can see the difference between 
an industrialized and a non-industrialized country. I think 
the difference, say between India and Europe in the Middle 
Ages, would not have been very great and would have 
been comparable to the difference between any of the great 
countries of Asia today. 

I feel that we think wrongly because we are misled in our 
approach. Differences have crept in and been intensified by 
this process of industrialization and mechanization, which 
has promoted material well-being tremendously and which 
has been a blessing to humanity. At the same time, it is 
corroding the life of the mind and thereby encouraging a 
process of self-destruction. I am not, for the moment, talking 
or thinking about wars and the like. We have seen in 
history races come up and gradually fade away, in Asia, in 



384 


JAWAJIARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


Europe and other places. Are we witnessing the same thing 
today ? 

It may be that this will not take effect in our life-time. In 
the past anyway, one great consolation was that things 
happened only in one particular quarter of the world. If there 
was a collapse in one part of the world, the other part carried 
on. Now, the whole world hangs together in life and death 
so that if this civilization fades away or collapses it will take 
practically the whole world down with it. No part of it will 
be left to survive as it could in olden times. During the 
so-called Dark Ages of Europe, there were bright periods in 
Asia, in China, in India, in the Middle East and elsewhere. 
In the old days, if progress was limited, disaster was also 
limited in extent and intensity. Today, when we have arrived 
at a period of great progress, we have also arrived at a period 
of great disaster and it is a little difficult for us to choose a 
middle way which would enable us to achieve a little progress 
and, at the same time, to limit the scope of disaster. That is 
the major question. A person who has to carry a burden of 
responsibility is greatly troubled by the practical aspects of 
this question. I should have liked your conference to throw 
light on this question. Am I right in saying that the mental 
life of the world is in a process of deterioration, chiefly because 
the environment that has been created by the industrial 
revolution does not give time or opportunity to individuals 
to think? I do not deny that today there are many great 
thinkers but it is quite likely that they might be submerged 
in the mass of unthinking humanity. 

We are dealing with and talking a great deal about 
democracy and I have little doubt that democracy is the 
best of all the various methods available to us for the 
governance of human beings. At the same time, we are 
seeing today — by today I mean the last two decades or so — 
the emergence of democracy in a somewhat uncontrolled 
form. When we think of democracy, we normally think of 
it in the rather limited sense of the 19th century or the early 
20th century use of the term. Owing to the remarkable 
technological growth, something has happened since then 
and meanwhile democracy has also spread. The result is that 



THE CONCEPT OF MAN 


385 


we have vast masses of human beings brought up by the 
industrial revolution, who are not encouraged or given an 
opportunity to think much. They live a life which, from the 
point of view of physical comfort, is incomparably better 
than it has been in any previous generation but they seldom 
have a- chance to think. And yet in a democratic system, it 
is this vast mass of human beings that will ultimately govern 
or elect those who govern. 

Are they likely to elect more or less the sort of persons 
they need? That becomes a little doubtful. And I think it 
may be said without offence — and I certainly can say without 
offence, for I belong to that tribe of politicians — th it the 
quality of men who are selected by this modern democratic 
method of adult suffrage gradually deteriorates. There are 
outstanding individuals chosen, no doubt, but their quality 
does deteriorate because of this lack of thinking and because 
of the application of modern methods of propaganda. All 
the noise and din and the machinery of advertisement prevent 
men from thinking. They react to this din and noise 
by producing a dictator or a dumb politician, who is insensi- 
tive, who can stand all the din and noise in the world and 
yet remain standing on his two feet. He gets elected while 
his rival collapses because he cannot stand all this din. It is 
an extraordinary state of affairs. It is all very well for us to 
praise the growth of democracy and I am all for it. The 
point that I wish to make is not in regard to democracy but 
rather in regard to the fact that modern life does not 
encourage the life of the mind. If the life of the mind is not 
encouraged, then inevitably civilization deteriorates, the 
race deteriorates and ultimately both collapse in some big 
cataclysm or just fade away and become as other races and 
civilizations have become. 



PAST AND PRESENT 


M R Chairman, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, I have 
accepted with pleasure the task of inaugurating the 
National Art Treasures Fund, not because I happen to be a 
particularly suitable person in matters connected with art but 
because I greatly admire it, albeit as an inexpert layman. I 
consider it very important that the artistic and aesthetic side of 
a nation’s growth should be given prominence. Naturally, a 
government has to deal largely with what might be called the 
primary needs of the people. It can hardly think of anything 
else before the primary needs are satisfied. Nevertheless, no 
country and no people can subsist only on primary needs; 
they certainly cannot grow. Apart from food, one has also 
to provide them with other fare — clothing and other 
necessities of life. After all, when we talk of the growth of a 
people, of civilization, of cultural life, we think of all manner 
of things, besides these primary needs. We think of their 
mental, intellectual and spiritual growth and of the artistic 
and aesthetic needs of their lives. We, perhaps, also think 
of the danger that some of these primary needs of life might 
suffer at the hands of other tendencies which are certainly 
very important, provided they are kept within proper bounds 
and not allowed to become the masters of human destiny. 

Delhi has got no proper museum. We have some small 
collections here that are good but they are practically nothing 
compared with the great museums of Europe and America. 
And that is unfortunate for all of us, more especially for our 
children who receive their ideas of beauty or lack of beauty 
from such institutions. If I may say so with all respect, the 
governmental structures of Delhi are not all very beautiful to 
look at, although some of them are obviously meant to 
impress. If you want to see architectural beauty in India, 
you have to go back to the buildings of another age. So, it is 
important to have museums, not only to keep treasures intact 
and make them accessible but also to enable the rising 
generations to look at them, so that they can have some idea 

Speech at the inauguration of the National Art Treasures Fund, New 
Delhi, February 23, 1952 



PAST AND PRESENT 


S87 


of India in regard to the finer aspects of life. Personally, I 
should imagine that any proper teaching of history would 
include the artistic and cultural development of a people 
as an essential element. Without that, history becomes a 
string of events, of battles and of kings, which can neither 
inspire.- nor do much good to anybody. It does not really 
matter very much whether you remember the names of 
kings or not but it is important that you remember the artistic 
achievements of a race. 

I believe, we have some good museums in India, though 
they can hardly be compared with the great museums and 
galleries of the West. The type of great art we have has essen- 
tially to be seen on the site itself. It is not normally thing 
that can be placed in a museum, sometimes because if is part 
of big structures and sometimes because it has almost grown 
out of the very rocks. It is part of the natural scene like some 
of our great sculptures, caves and frescoes. It is right that 
these places should become, even more so than they are now, 
places of artistic pilgrimage for us so that we may learn from 
them not only something of the past but something of the 
grace of life which can, perhaps, affect our present life also. 
We cannot transport these big architectural monuments but 
there are still plenty of art treasures in India which can be 
kept together. It is important that we should keep these things 
not only for ourselves but also for our friends from outside 
India who may come here and who may like to see them 
assembled in a few places rather than to have to hunt for 
them in odd places all over India. 

I think that the step which has been proposed is an 
important one in this direction, because art, like some other 
things, should not become just a governmental affair and 
should not depend entirely on the encouragement of the 
government. Governments should, of course, encourage it but 
governments have a peculiar way of working and they some- 
how become rigid and lose touch with the popular mind. 
Therefore, it is right that we should bring in others into this 
organization; in fact, if I may say so, we should give the lead 
to those of our people who love art to build up these great art 
collections. 



JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES I949-195S 


Here is this city of New Delhi and Old Delhi is nearby. 
There are many things in Old Delhi which, perhaps, many 
of us and many of you do not like. They are certainly capable 
of improvement. Nevertheless, there are many things in 
Old Delhi, old buildings, for instance, which stand out. But 
there is something more than that. There is the spirit and the 
genius of an ancient city, where almost every stone tells you a 
story, where history is embedded even in the dirty lanes — the 
history of events and the history of a people in their happi- 
ness and sorrow through long ages past. There is this ancient 
city with much that is good and much that is bad: but it has 
a definite and positive atmosphere which you can feel in your 
bones if you go there, especially if you know something about 
the tremendous past of Old Delhi which is supposed to be 
the seventh city of Delhi. New Delhi attracts large numbers 
of people for business or pleasure and it has some big and 
impressive buildings and plenty of offices. Large numbers 
of people, directly or indirectly concerned with the adminis- 
tration of India, sit in these offices and work away. But New 
Delhi has always seemed to me to be a place without a soul 
and without spirit. In spite of its large structures of stone 
and brick and in spite of a certain attractiveness which some 
of the New Delhi buildings may possess, New Delhi is not an 
attractive place. This is not so because of the buildings; I 
am talking more of the atmosphere that surrounds it. Now, 
you cannot develop the right atmosphere in a city too quickly. 
But, at any rate, you can lay the foundation for it; you can 
help that atmosphere to grow. 

Art galleries and museums in a great city are like windows 
which look out on the broader, richer and deeper things of 
life. I feel somewhat ashamed that in this great capital of 
India we have nothing really worthy of being called a 
museum. We have plenty of good things. There is a place 
called "The Central Museum of Asian Antiquities.” Once 
I went there and found that the last visitor had come three 
months ago. Well, that is really odd. It struck me as odd 
that, on an average, there should be only one visitor every 
three months to the Museum of Asian Antiquities. When 
I went there, naturally, the people in charge were somewhat 



PAST AND PRESENT 


589 


upset — they were not expecting visitors and they had to 
be sent for from all over the place. People were working 
in an office in a musty and dusty atmosphere. That is the 
way in which a typical governmental museum functions, ft 
is not interested in the public seeing the exhibits; it is 
interested in ticketing and docketing and presenting a report 
at the end. Now, even that may have some value for the 
future. But certainly the value it has in the present is practi- 
cally nil, because the museum is not a part of the life of the 
people but merely of the officials who sit there. The whole 
idea of museums somehow seems to be unconnected with 
the life of our people. It lives in the upper atmosphere of 
officials. That is not good enough and the question arises 
how we can make museums a vital part of our people’s lives, 
of the lives of our school children and of college boys and 
girls who can come and see and learn from them and be 
inspired by objects of art and thus develop their own creative 
talents by looking at the great creations of the past. There- 
fore, I greatly welcome the creation of this Fund in the hope 
that it will lead to the creation of that atmosphere even in 
this official ridden city of New Delhi as also in the other 
great cities of India. I should like the whole country to be 
dotted with museums. They cannot all be very big; you 
cannot spread out the treasures all over the country. They 
have to remain more or less concentrated to be properly 
looked after. They can be duplicated to some extent at other 
places, too. What I am anxious about is this: every child of 
India should see something of these artistic treasures, should 
understand something that has gone to build up India, 
should assimilate, even if in a small measure, the genius of 
India, which, adapted to the modern conditions, should make 
the country grow. 


26—11 DPD/65 



THE WAY TO SPIRITUAL REVIVAL 


I n this solemn gathering of Bhikkus and Buddhist scholars 
from all over the world, I see something of history. This 
Conference has a deep significance for us in India and must 
have the same significance for the whole world because the 
latter is at a turning point in history. The message of the 
Buddha may well solve the problems of our troubled and 
tormented world. I came to Sanchi, not to give you a message 
but to search for something myself. In this torn and distorted 
world, I am a very confused person. I see no light and often 
stumble. I try to search for what is lacking in me and to find 
out what is wanted of me by my country and my people. 

History today has ceased to be the history of this country 
or that. It has become the history of mankind because we are 
all tied up together in a common fate. 

In India, as in other countries, great lights have shone 
to show us the right way. Not only has India been the scene of 
these great teachings but she has also sent them abroad to 
light up the darkness in other countries. The message that the 
Buddha gave 2,500 years ago shed its light not only on India 
or Asia but on the whole world. 

The question that inevitably suggests itself is, how far can 
the great message of the Buddha apply to the present-day 
world? Perhaps it may apply, perhaps, it may not; but I do 
know that if we follow the principles enunciated by the 
Buddha, we will ultimately win peace and tranquillity for 
the world. For all we know we may be sowing such seeds in 
this Conference as will flower for the good of humanity. 


Message to the International Buddhist Cultural Conference, Sanchi, 
November 29, 1952 



TO THE UNIVERSITIES 


ENDS AND MEANS 

I have come to you not so much in my capacity as Prime 
Minister of a great country or a politician but rather as a 
humble seeker after truth and as one who has continuously 
struggled to find the way, not always with success, to fit 
action to the objectives and ideals that he has held The 
process is always difficult but it becomes increasingly so in 
this world of conflict and passion. Politicians have to deal 
with day to day problems and they seek immediate re nedies. 
Philosophers think of ultimate objectives and are apt to lose 
touch with the day to day world and its problems. Neither 
approach appears to be adequate by itself. Is it possible to 
combine those two approaches and function aha the manner 
of Plato's philosopher-kings? You, Sir, who have had the 
experience of the role of a great man of action and also that 
of a philosopher as head of this university, should be able to 
help us to answer this question. 

In this world of incessant and feverish activity, men have 
little time to think, much less to consider ideals and objectives. 
Yet, how are we to act, even in the present, unless we know 
which way we are going and what our objectives are? It is 
only in the peaceful atmosphere of a university that these 
basic problems can be adequately considered. It is only 
when the young men qnd women, who are in the university 
today and on whom the burden of life's problems will fall 
tomorrow, learn to have clear objectives and standards of 
values that there is hope for the next generation. The past 
generation produced some great men but as a generation it 
led the world repeatedly to disaster. Two world wars are the 
price that has been paid for the lack of wisdom on man’s 
part in this generation. It is a terrible price and the tragedy 
of it is that, even after the price has been paid, we have 

Address on the occasion of the conferment of the decree of Doctor of 
Laws at Columbia University, New York, October 17. 1949 



392 JAWAHARLAI. NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 

not purchased real peace or a cessation of conflict and an 
even deeper tragedy is that mankind does not profit by its 
experience and continues to go the same way that led 
previously to disaster. 

We have had wars and we have had victory and we have 
celebrated that victory; yet, what is victory and how do we 
measure it? A war is fought presumably to gain certain 
objectives. The defeat of the enemy is not by itself an objective 
but rather the removal of an obstruction towards the attain- 
ment of the objective. If that objective is not attained, then 
that victory over the enemy brings only negative relief and 
indeed is not a real victory. We have seen, however, that the 
aim in wars is almost entirely to defeat the enemy and 
the other and real objective is often forgotten. The result 
has been that the victory attained by defeating the enemy 
has only been a very partial one and has not solved the real 
problem; if it has solved the immediate problem, it has, at 
the same time, given rise to many other and sometimes worse 
problems. Therefore, it becomes necessary to have the real 
objective clear in our minds at all times whether in war or in 
peace and always to aim at achieving the objective. 

I think also that there is always a close and intimate 
relationship between the end we aim at and the means 
adopted to attain it. Even if the end is right but the means 
are w r rong, it will vitiate the end or divert us in a wrong 
direction. Means and ends are thus intimately and inextric- 
ably connected and cannot be separated. That, indeed, has 
been the lesson of old taught us by many great men in the 
past but unfortunately it is seldom remembered. 

I am venturing to place some of these ideas before you, 
not because they are novel but because they have impressed 
themselves upon me in the course of my life which has been 
spent in alternating periods of incessant activity and conflict 
and enforced leisure. The great leader of my country, 
Mahatma Gandhi, under whose inspiration and sheltering 
care I grew up, always laid stress on moral values and warned 
us never to subordinate means to ends. We were not worthy 
of him and yet, to the best of our ability, we tried to follow 
his teaching. Even the limited extent to which we could 



ENDS AND MEANS 


S9S 


follow his teaching yielded rich results. After a generation of 
intense struggle with a great and powerful nation, we achieved 
success and, perhaps, the most significant part of it, for which 
credit is due to both parties, was the manner of its achieve- 
ment. History hardly affords a parallel to the solution of 
su.ch a conflict in a peaceful way, followed by friendly and co- 
operative relations. It is astonishing how rapidly bitterness and 
ill will between the two nations have faded away, giving place 
to co-operation. And we in India have decided of our own free 
will to continue this co-operation as an independent nation. 

I would not presume to offer advice to other and more 
experienced nations in any way. But may I suggest foi your 
consideration that there is some lesson in India’s peaceful 
revolution which might be applied to the larger p.oblems 
before the world today? That revolution demonstrated to 
us that physical force need not necessarily be the arbiter of 
man’s destiny and that the method of waging i struggle and 
the way of its termination are of paramount importance. 
Past history shows us the important part that physical force 
has played. But it also shows us that no such force can 
ultimately ignore the moral forces of the world; and if it 
attempts to do so, it does so at its peril. Today, this problem 
faces us in all its intensity, because the weapons that physical 
force has at its disposal are terrible to contemplate. Must the 
twentieth century differ from primitive barbarism only in 
the destructive efficacy of the weapons that man’s ingenuity 
has invented for man’s destruction? I do believe, in 
accordance with my master’s teaching, that there is another 
way to meet this situation and solve the problem that faces us. 

I realize that a statesman or a man who has to deal with 
public affairs cannot ignore realities and cannot act in terms 
of abstract truth. His activity is always limited by the degree 
of receptivity of the truth by his fellow-men. Nevertheless, 
the basic truth remains truth and is always to be kept in view 
and, as far as possible, it should guide our actions. Otherwise 
we get caught up in a vicious circle of evil when one evil 
action leads to another. 

India is a very old country with a great past. But she is a 
new country also with new urges and desires. Since August 



894 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


1947, she has been in a position to pursue a foreign policy 
of her own. She was limited by the realities of the situation 
which we could not ignore or overcome. But even so, she 
could not forget the lesson of her great leader. She has tried 
to adapt, however imperfectly, theory to reality in so far as 
she could. In the family of nations she was a newcomer and 
could not influence them greatly to begin with. But she had 
a certain advantage. She had great potential resources that 
could, no doubt, increase her power and influence. A greater 
advantage lay in the fact that she was not fettered by the 
past, by old enmities or old ties, by historic claims or tradi- 
tional rivalries. Even against her former rulers there was no 
bitterness left. Thus, India came into the family of nations 
with no prejudices or enmities, ready to welcome and be 
welcomed. Inevitably, she had to consider her foreign 
policy in terms of enlightened self-interest but at the same 
time she brought to it a touch of her idealism. Thus, she 
has tried to combine idealism with national interest. The 
main objectives of that policy are: the pursuit of peace, not 
through alignment with any major power or group of powers 
but through an independent approach to each controversial 
or disputed issues, the liberation of subject peoples, the main- 
tenance of freedom, both national and individual, the 
elimination of racial discrimination and the elimination of 
want, disease and ignorance which afflict the greater part 
of the world’s population. I am asked frequently why India 
does not align herself with a particular nation or a group of 
nations and told that because we have refrained from doing 
so we are sitting on the fence. The question and the comment 
are easily understood, because in times of crisis it is not 
unnatural for those who are involved in it deeply to regard 
calm objectivity in others as irrational, short-sighted, negative, 
unreal or even unmanly. But I should like to make it clear 
that the policy India has sought to pursue is not a negative 
and neutral policy. It is a positive and a vital policy that 
flows from our struggle for freedom and from the teaching of 
Mahatma Gandhi. Peace is not only an absolute necessity 
for us in India in order to progress and develop but is also 
of paramount importance to the world. How can that peace 



ENDS AND MEANS 


395 


be preserved? Not by surrendering to aggression, not by 
compromising with evil or injustice but also not by talking 
and preparing for war! Aggression has to be met, for it 
endangers peace. At the same time, the lesson of the last two 
wars has to be remembered and it seems to me astonishing 
that, in spite of that lesson, we go the same way. The very 
process of marshalling the world into two hostile camps 
precipitates the conflict which it has sought to avoid. It 
produces a sense of terrible fear, and that fear darkens men’s 
minds and leads them into wrong courses. There is perhaps 
nothing so bad and so dangerous in life as fear. As a great 
President of the United States said, there is nothing really 
to fear except fear itself. 

Our problem, therefore, becomes one of lessening and 
ultimately putting an end to this fear. That will not happen 
if all the world takes sides and talks of war. War becomes 
almost certain then. 

We are a member of the family of nations and we have no 
wish to shirk any of the obligations and burdens of that mem- 
bership. We have accepted fully the obligations of member- 
ship in the United Nations and intend to abide by them. 
We wish to make our full contribution to the common store 
and to render our full measure of service. But that can only 
be done effectively in our own way and of our own choice. 
We believe passionately in the democratic method and we 
seek to enlarge the bounds of democracy both on the political 
and the economic plane, for no democracy can exist for long 
in the midst of want and poverty and inequality. Our imme- 
diate needs are economic betterment and raising the 
standards of our people. The more we succeed in this, the 
more we can serve the cause of peace in the world. We are 
fully aware of our weaknesses and failings and claim no 
superior virtue; but we do not wish to forfeit the advantage 
that our present detachment gives us. We believe that the 
maintenance of that detachment is not only in our interest 
but also in the interest of world peace and freedom. That 
detachment is neither isolationism nor indifference nor 
neutrality when peace or freedom is threatened. When man’s 
liberty or peace is in danger we cannot and shall not be 



396 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


neutral; neutrality then would be a betrayal of what we 
have fought for and stand for. 

If we seek to ensure peace we must attack the root causes 
of war and not merely the symptoms. What are the under- 
lying causes of war in the modern world? 

One of the basic causes is the domination of one country 
by another or an attempt to dominate. Large parts of Asia 
were ruled till recently by foreign and chiefly European 
Powers. We ourselves were part of the British Empire, as were 
also Pakistan, Ceylon and Burma. France, Holland and 
Portugal still have territories over which they rule. But the 
rising tide of nationalism and the love of independence have 
submerged most of the Western Empires in Asia. In Indonesia, 
I hope that there will soon be an independent Sovereign 
State. We hope also that French Indo-China will achieve 
freedom and peace before long under a government of its 
own choice. Much of Africa, however, is subject to foreign 
Powers, some of whom still attempt to enlarge their 
dominions. It is clear that all remaining vestiges of 
imperialism and colonialism will have to disappear. 

Secondly, there is the problem of racial relations. The 
progress of some races in knowledge or in invention, their 
success in war and conquest, has tempted them to believe 
that they are racially superior and has led them to treat 
other nations with contempt. A recent example of this was 
the horrible attempt, so largely successful, to exterminate the 
Jews. In Asia and Africa, racial superiority has been most 
widely and most insolently exhibited. It is forgotten that 
nearly all the great religions of mankind arose in the East 
and that wonderful civilizations grew up there when Europe 
and America were still unknown to history. The West has 
too often despised the Asian and the African and still, in 
many places, denies them not only equality of rights but 
even common humanity and kindliness. This is one of the 
great danger points of our modern world; and now that 
Asia and Africa are shaking off their torpor and arousing 
themselves, out of this evil may come a conflagration of which 
no man can see the range of consequences. One of your 
greatest men said that this country cannot exist half slave 



ENDS AND MEANS 


397 


and half free. The world cannot long maintain peace if half 
of it is enslaved and despised. The problem is not always 
simple nor can it be solved by a resolution or a decree. Unless 
there is a firm and sincere determination to solve it, there 
will be no peace. 

. The third reason for war and revolution is the misery and 
want of millions of people in many countries and, in parti- 
cular, in Asia and Africa. In the West, though the war has 
brought much misery and many difficulties, the common 
man generally lives in some measure of comfort — he has 
food, clothing and shelter to some extent. The basic problem 
of the East, therefore, is to obtain these necessaries of l.fe. If 
they are lacking, then there is the apathy of despair oi the 
destructive rage of the revolutionary. Political subjection, 
racial inequality, economic inequality and misery — these 
are the evils that we have to remove if we would ensure peace. 
If we can offer no remedy, then other cries and slogans will 
make an appeal to the minds of the people. 

Many of the countries of Asia have entered the family of 
nations; others we hope will soon find a place in this circle. 
We have the same hopes for the countries of Africa. This 
process should proceed rapidly and America and Europe 
should use their great influence and power to facilitate it. 
We see before us vast changes taking place, not only in the 
political and economic spheres but even more so in the minds 
of men. Asia is becoming dynamic again and is passionately 
eager to progress and raise the economic standards of her 
vast masses. This awakening of a giant continent is of the 
greatest importance to the future of mankind and requires 
imaginative statesmanship of a high order. The problems 
of this awakening will not be solved by looking at it with 
fear or in a spirit of isolationism by any of us. It requires a 
friendly and understanding approach, clear objectives and a 
common effort to realize them. The colossal expenditure of 
energy and resources on armaments is an outstanding feature 
of many national budgets today but that does not solve 
the problem of world peace. Perhaps, even a fraction 
of that outlay, utilized in other ways and for other purposes, 
will provide a more enduring basis for peace and happiness. 



398 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 

That is India’s view, offered in all friendliness to all 
thinking men and women, to all persons of goodwill in the 
name of our common humanity. That view is not based on 
wishful thinking but on a deep consideration of the problems 
that afflict us all, and on its merits I venture to place it before 
you. 

I should like to add a few words, Sir. I have been deeply 
moved by what you have said, by what was said about me 
in the previous citation and I have felt very humble as I 
listened to these remarks. 

The scene that I see here under your distinguished presi- 
dentship will long remain in my mind. Indeed, I do not 
think that I shall ever forget it. I shall remember the scene 
and above all I shall remember the great courtesy, kindliness 
and generosity with which you have received me here and 
made me one of yourselves. 

I shall prize the honour of being a fellow member with 
you of this great University, above the other honours that have 
come my way. I shall prize it, not only in my individual capa- 
city as I believe that this honour was, perhaps, meant for 
more than an individual and that, for the moment, you have 
treated me not as an individual but also as a symbol for and 
representative of India. And here, Sir, forgetting myself for a 
moment, I thank you on behalf of iny country and my people. 


THE GANDHIAN TECHNIQUE 

Y ou know that during the last thirty years or so, we carried 
on rather intensively our campaign for India’s freedom. 
We did not begin it; it was there. It had been continued for 
generations before us but it came more to the world's notice 
then, because a world figure stepped into the arena of Indian 
politics — that is, Mahatma Gandhi. And he produced a very 
remarkable change in India. 


Address at the University of Chicago, October 27, 1949 



THE GANDHIAN TECHNIQUE 


399 


I was, of course, much younger then but still I have the 
most vivid memories of that change, because it affected me as 
it affected millions of our people. It was a strange change 
that came over us. We were at that time a very frustrated 
people, hankering and yearning for freedom and not knowing 
what to do about it. We were helpless, unarmed, unorganized 
in any proper way and totally incapable, as it seemed, of 
facing a great imperial Power which had been entrenched in 
our country for over a hundied and fifty years. Further, this 
was a Power which was not superficially there, merely by 
force of arms but which had dug down deep into the roots 
of India. It seemed an cxtiaoidinarily difficult t..sk to 
remove it. 

Some of our young men, in the depths of their frustration, 
took to violent courses that wcie completely futile. Individual 
acts of terrorism took place, which meant nothing at all in the 
wider context of things. On the other hand, the politics of 
some of our leaders then was so feeble that it could produce 
no result. So between the two, we did not know what we 
could do. It seemed degrading to follow the rather humiliat- 
ing line which some of the leaders of Indian public life in 
those days recommended; and, on the other hand, it seemed 
completely wrong and futile to adopt the terrorist method 
which, apart from being bad in itself, could not possibly gain 
any results. 

At that time, Gandhi came on the scene and he offered a 
way of political action to us. It was an odd way — a new way. 
What he said was not new in its essence. Great men had 
said it previously but there was a difference in that he applied 
that teaching to mass political action. Something which 
the individual had been taught to do in his individual life 
was suddenly sought to be adopted for mass action — and 
mass action in a vast country of people who, from the 
educational point of view, were illiterate, untrained and 
thoroughly frightened; people who were obsessed with fear 
and who (if I may refer to the peasantry of our country which 
formed about 80 per cent of our population) were kicked 
and cuffed by everybody who came in contact with them, 
whether it was a governmental agency or the moneylender 



400 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1955 


Whoever it was, they were treated badly. They never had 
any relief from the tremendous burden they endured. 

Well, Gandhi came and he told them that there was a way 
out — a way of achieving freedom. ‘First of all,’ he said, ‘shed 
your fear. Do not be afraid, and then act in a united way but 
always peacefully. Do not bear any ill will in your hearts 
against your opponent. You are fighting a system, not an 
individual, not a race, not the people of another country. 
You are fighting the imperialist system or the colonial system.’ 

Now, it was not very easy for us to understand all this; 
and much more difficult it must have been for others, our 
peasantry, for instance. But the fact remains that there was 
some power in his voice, something in him which seemed to 
infuse other people with courage and make them feel that this 
man was not an empty talker, that he meant what he said 
and that he would be able to ‘deliver the goods’, if I may put 
it so. 

Almost magically, his influence spread. He was well 
known before also but not in this particular way. And within 
a few months we saw a change come over our countryside. 
The peasantry began to behave differently. It straightened 
its back. It could look you in the face. It had self-confidence 
and self-reliance. Now, this did not happen automatically, 
of course, for Gandhi’s message was carried to these peasants 
in the countryside by tens of thousands of young men and 
young women. First of all they went to the people who 
became enthusiastic about it and accepted it. Within a few 
months, the whole aspect of India changed. 

Now, it is simple enough to say, ‘Do not be afraid.’ There 
is nothing magical about that. Of what were we afraid? 
What is a person normally afraid of? Many things. We 
were afraid of being put in prison. We were afraid of our 
property being confiscated for sedition. We were afraid, if 
you like, of being shot at and killed as rebels. Well, Gandhi 
argued with us, ‘After all, if you are so frightfully keen on 
freedom, what does it matter if you go to prison, if your 
property is confiscated or even if you are killed? It does not 
matter much, because you will get something infinitely more. 
Apart from serving for a great cause and apart from possibly 




it Iht apt Hint* oj thx mu 
\ ihata at Sanchi , \oitmhn 1952 



Addressing the fvsl meeting of tk 




)i dopvunl Counit l t November 1952 




In a field headquarters during 
military exercises, April 1953 


With Sri Mahavir Tyagi , addressing officers of the 
Indian Army proceeding to Korea . August 1953 



THE GANDHIAN TECHNIQUE 


401 


achieving results, the mere act of doing this will fill you with 
a certain satisfaction and joy.’ 

Somehow or other that voice seemed to convince masses 
of people; and there came about a tremendous change. 

Thus started in India what might be called the ‘Gandhi 
era’, in .our politics, which lasted until his death and which, 
in some form or other, will always continue. I mention this 
so that you may have some kind of a picture of how we 
behaved. Large numbers of us gave up our normal profes- 
sions and avocations and went to the villages preaching this 
gospel. We also preached other things which our political 
organization demanded and we forgot almost ever} thing 
else that we used to do. Our lives changed, no: very 
deliberately — they simply changed, automaticalb and 
completely, so much so that it was a little difficult for us even 
to interest ourselves in those activities with which we had 
been previously associated. We were absorbed in the new 
activity of the moment — and not just for a moment but 
for years. 

Obviously, we could not have done so if we did not find a 
great deal of satisfaction in it. We did find satisfaction; and 
when people imagine that I have gone through a great deal of 
pain and suffering because I went to prison for a number of 
years, they are perhaps partly right. They are, however, 
fundamentally wrong in another sense, because most of us 
who endured privations felt that period to be the most 
significant in our lives. It was not a period which might be 
measured in terms of normal happiness but it was something 
deeper than that — a period in which we felt a certain satis- 
faction. Why? Because, for the moment, our ideals were in 
conformity with our actions or, to put it in the other way, 
we acted in accordance with our ideals. And there can be 
no greater satisfaction to an individual than when there is 
such a synthesis of thought and action in him. Then he 
becomes, for the moment, an integrated individual and he 
functions with power and strength and without doubt. The 
real difficulties seldom come from an external source. Real 
difficulties are those which arise in our own minds when we are 
in doubt; they can also arise when we are not able to act in 



402 JAWAHARLAI. NF.HRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1958 

accordance with our conviction for some reason. Then there is 
difficulty and obstruction within ourselves and complexes 
arise. We had the feeling of tremendous satisfaction in what 
we were doing, because during that period we became inte- 
grated human beings in whom thought and action more or 
less went together. 

We wanted results, of course. We were working for results 
but for the moment we were satisfied with the act of doing, 
results apart. We had ups and downs, apparent failures for 
the moment. But such was the nature of the technique of 
action which Gandhi had taught us that even in a moment 
of apparent failure there really was no going back. 

You may have heard that a large number of us, a hundred 
thousand of us, were in prison and apparently nothing was 
happening in India. The movement for freedom was 
suppressed. It was so, in a superficial sense. Six months later 
or a yeai later, suddenly one would find that the movement 
was very alive. Repeatedly, the British Government was 
amazed. It would think that it had put an end to this business; 
and then it would find that it had started off at a higher pitch 
than ever. A movement, which was a peculiar mixture of mass 
activity and individual action (that is, each individual doing 
something regardless of whether others did it or not), is a 
type very difficult to crush. It may be suppressed for a while; 
but because there is the individual incentive and because the 
individual wants to act regardless of whether others act or 
not, and when thousands and tens of thousands of individuals 
feel that way, it is very difficult to suppress them. 

How do governments function? A democratic govern- 
ment in the ultimate analysis functions largely with the good- 
will of the people and with their co-operation. It cannot go 
very much against them. Even an autocratic government has 
to have a measure of goodwill. It cannot function without 
it. In the ultimate analysis, a government functions because 
of certain sanctions which it has and which are represented 
by its army or police force. If the government is in line with 
the thought of a majority of the people, it is a democratic 
government and only a very small minority of the people 
will feel its pressure. Now, if an individual refuses to be afraid 



THE GANDHIAN TECHNIQUE 


40S 


of these sanctions, what is the government to do about it? 
It may put him in prison. He is not afraid; he welcomes it. 
He may be, if you like, shot down. He is not afraid of 
facing death. Well, then a government has to face a crisis; 
that is, a government, in spite of its great power, cannot 
really conquer an individual. It may kill him but it does 
not overcome him. That is failure on the part of the 
government. A government, which is essentially based — 
apart from the other factors which I have mentioned — upon 
the sanctions it has, comes up against something — the spirit 
of man which refuses to be afraid of those sanctions. 

Now, that is a thing which normal governments d.* not 
understand. They are upset by it. They do not know siow to 
deal with it. They can, of course, deal with the individual in 
the normal way by treating him as a criminal. But that, too, 
does not work, because that man docs not feel like a criminal: 
nor do others regard him as a criminal. So, it does not work. 

So that, this process, this technique of action, was not one 
of overwhelming a government so much by mass action — 
although there was that phase of it — but rather one of 
undermining the prestige of a government before which an 
individual would not bow. Many of you, no doubt, have 
read something very like it in Thoreau’s writings. This was 
developed on a mass scale by Gandhi. Naturally, the people 
of India were not very well trained; nor did they under- 
stand too well the philosophy of this technique of action. 
They were weak and frail human beings. They slipped and 
made mistakes and all that. Nevertheless, on the whole, 
they did function according to that technique; and ultimately 
they triumphed. That is one thing I should like you to bear 
in mind. 

The second thing is quite different. We were fighting for 
political freedom. That was the primary urge — the nationalist 
urge for political freedom. But always, right from the 
beginning, this political freedom was associated in our minds 
with economic and social progress and freedom. The more 
we went — and we went all the time — to the masses of the 
Indian people — the peasantry, the workers, the petty 
shopkeepers, especially in the rural areas — and the more we 



404 


JAWAHARLAL NF.HRU’S SPEECHES 1949-195S 


saw of the poverty of India, the more we were impressed by 
it. We could not conceive of any freedom which would be 
only political freedom and which did not bring relief to these 
people. 

The first problem we took up, inevitably, was the land 
problem, because most of the peasantry were oppressed by 
the land tenure system in India. It was a varied system — 
sometimes completely feudal, sometimes something less than 
feudal but, nevertheless, bearing down heavily upon the 
tenant. So, right from the beginning in our programme, the 
reform of the land tenure system occupied a very prominent 
place. 

We explored other fields, too, and drew up various 
economic programmes for the betterment of the people, 
because we looked upon political freedom not as a final goal 
but rather as a gateway and an opportunity for the nation to 
progress, as the removal of an obstruction which came in the 
way of our functioning as we wanted to function. The real 
functioning and the real progress were to come afterwards. 

We made many plans and when, two and a quarter years 
ago, this freedom for which we had laboured came, we had a 
large number of plans ready for advance along all kinds of 
fronts — economic, educational, health, labour. But although 
the dream which we had dreamed for a long time was coming 
true — and it was exciting to see a dream come true — it did 
not come true quite as we had wanted it to. In the process of 
its coming, the country was partitioned, although with our 
consent, under the stress of circumstances. Wanting peace 
and wanting freedom and not wanting anything to delay it, 
we agreed to that partition, although we disliked it intensely 
and we rather feared the consequences. Still we thought, 
on balance, that a partition of the country would be the 
most peaceful way of achieving our ends. 

As a matter of fact, peace did not follow that partition 
and upheavals took place. Terrible things happened — killings, 
massacres of large numbers of people and vast migrations 
from one part of the country to another. We had six million 
refugees or displaced persons — call them what you will — come 
to India, uprooted from Pakistan. And about a like number 



THE GANDHIAN TECHNIQUE 


405 


went from India to Pakistan. Men of all types, men and 
women of all classes, all grades in life — rich people, poor 
people, middling people, peasants, workers, merchants, 
industrialists, financiers, educationists, professors, lawyers, 
doctors — leaving all their property just hurried across to save 
themselves. Six millions of them — just think of the number 
we have had to look after! 

This was a terrific problem; and it is a terrific problem 
looking after six million refugees of all types. To remove them 
was difficult enough. The second thing, just to feed them 
and to give them shelter, was another very big task but the 
final and the biggest task was to rehabilitate them. We 
have been engaged in that for these last two years. We have 
rehabilitated a fairly large number but a considerable ni mber 
still remains; and I am afraid that this problem is going to 
be with us for many years. 

Look at the picture of India about the time independence 
came to us and just after. The coming of independence was, 
as you know, peaceful in the sense that there was peace 
between India and the United Kingdom. It was done by 
agreement; and the whole process was completed in an 
admirably peaceful way, which does great credit both to India 
and England. 

There is one factor I should like you to remember in this 
particular connection. Gandhi’s technique of action was not 
only peaceful but also effective. It showed results. It showed 
its effectiveness most in the way it brought about freedom 
and the fact that it led to no ill will between the two countries. 
And after achieving that freedom, though we were not 
completely devoid of ill feeling — I cannot say that — yet it 
was extraordinary how suspicion, ill will and bitterness 
against England faded away from our country. And, as you 
know, we decided of our own free will to co-operate with 
her in many things and we have continued to co-operate with 
her. 

If you have to solve a problem, it is not much good solving 
it in such a way as to create two or three more difficult 
problems. That is what normally happens. Gandhi's way 
was not only to solve the problem but to solve it in such a 

27—11 DPD/CS 



406 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1955 


way that it was a final or relatively final solution that did not 
create other problems. 

The problem of freedom was satisfactorily solved. 
Nevertheless, the ending of British rule after a hundred and 
fifty years, naturally, brought many problems in its trail. All 
kinds of new forces were released. All kinds of problems 
which had been arrested or hidden away came up before us. 
There were the Indian princes, six hundred of them, big and 
small. That was a difficult matter. We could not possibly 
have six hundred islands of independent or semi-independent 
territory all over India. No country could exist like that. 
Then, there were many reactionary elements in India which 
thought that when the British left there would be a period of 
disorder that they might take advantage of. There were 
feudal elements, narrow nationalistic elements, communal 
elements and the like. And then, on top of this came the 
post-partition upheaval in northern India. Naturally, it 
helped all these reactionary’ elements and they wanted to 
profit by it. 

This was the situation we had to face. Well, we faced it 
and gradually overcame it. We survived and we began solving 
many of the big problems that had arisen. Take the Indian 
States problem. We have practically solved it and with 
remarkable speed, considering the complexity of it. Five or 
six hundred States have been disposed of peacefully and with 
the co-operation and consent of the rulers of these States. 
Why? Because the whole Indian State system of these 
maharajas and rajas and nabobs was completely artificial 
and was kept up by the British power. Maybe a hundred 
and fifty years ago it was not so artificial but much had 
happened since then; and I have no doubt that if the British 
had not been in India, these rulers either would have been 
removed or would have changed their character or would 
have been fitted into a new kind of political structure, just 
as in the last hundred and fifty years you have seen all kinds 
of principalities gradually disappearing in Europe. That 
would have happened in India, too. 

But it could not happen because the British, an external 
authority, protected these people. They were completely 



THE GANDHIAN TECHNIQUE 


407 


without strength, either in their own people or in any other 
way. And so, the moment the British Power was removed, 
the Indian princes, practically speaking, collapsed like a 
house of cards; and they came to terms with 11s. And we gave 
them generous terms — generous in the sense that we gave 
them generous pensions — but otherwise they ceased to be 
rulers as they had been. In some places, in two or three 
cases, they continue for the moment as constitutional rulers 
with Ministers and the other paraphernalia of democratic 
government. In other places they are just ex-rulers pensioned 
off. This major problem was solved with remarkable speed. 

The land problem which we had taken up long ago, we 
wanted to solve with all speed, too. That is a much more 
difficult problem but in a great part of India — in three of our 
biggest provinces — it is practically solved or in the process of 
being solved. It meant acquiring the land from big landlords 
on payment of compensation. That meant rather big sums by 
way of compensation. Therefore, it was complicated; other- 
wise there was no difficulty. The actual cultivators will keep 
their land and the absentee owners will be paid compensation 
for giving up such rights as they might have had. We are 
proceeding with that. This is important because the biggest 
problem of Asia — taken as a whole — is the land or the 
agrarian problem. There are many other problems in Asia 
but the basic problem, before you can make progress in an 
agricultural country, is obviously the agrarian problem. I 
think that many of the troubles of Asia can be understood 
only if you keep in mind this fact; the agrarian problem is 
the most important. 

We tackled the agrarian problem in India and, if I may 
say so, the basic stabiHty of the Indian Government is due 
to the fact that we have dealt with the agrarian problem in a 
way satisfactory to the peasant in India. I might also mention 
in this connection that the peasantry suffered tremendously 
in the past with everybody sitting on their backs. Our cities 
grew at the expense of our peasantry. For the first time in 
their lives, the peasantry had a tolerably fair deal during the 
last war. That is, the high prices of agricultural produce 
brought them much more money than they had ever seen. 



408 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-195S 


This resulted in their paying off the very heavy agricul- 
tural debt which was bearing down upon them. And again, for 
the first time also, they began to eat a little more because they 
got a* good price. They were not forced to sell every bit of grain 
or other produce, as they were previously, to pay their rent. 
Previously, they had to sell almost everything just to hang 
on to their land. Because they got much higher prices for 
their produce, they could pay their rent easily and have 
something left over. So they began to eat more. 

That, of course, is a very good thing — their paying off 
their debt and the peasantry’s eating a little more wheat or 
rice — but this had a result that was slightly upsetting in 
another field. When a hundred million people begin to eat 
a little more, it makes a vast difference to the total food stocks 
of the country'. And we began to suffer from food deficits. 
These food deficits were partly caused by the partition 
because some of our best wheat-growing areas went to 
Pakistan. There were other causes, too; but one of these 
causes was the fact that people were actually eating more. 
We wanted them to eat more but for the moment we did 
not have more for them to eat or rather, if they ate more, 
the others had less to eat and that created a problem. We 
could not afford, as an autocratic government might, to see 
people starving and dying of famine. 

May I remind you that not so long ago, in 1943, six 
years ago, while the war was going on, there was a terrible 
famine in Bengal? You may remember that three million 
people died in the province of Bengal through sheer starva- 
tion. That famine took place for many reasons but it was 
directly related to the war in the sense that India’s resources 
were thrown into the war without a thought of how that 
would affect the masses generally. They were deprived of 
even the bare necessities and, suddenly, had nothing. There 
was a bad harvest, there were no resources left and they 
died like flies. A democratic government could not face a 
situation like that even if it wanted to. The government 
would have to go and some other government would come 
in. So then, this food deficit took place, among other reasons, 
because people were eating a little more. The peasantry 



THE GANDHIAN TECHNIQUE 


409 


would not bring to the market all they had previously brought 
to the market. The cities began to suffer. We had to import 
food — large quantities of it — which, again, became a terrible 
burden on us. 

This was apart from the normal difficulties created by the 
partition. The difficulties were very great, because the 
partition of India meant suddenly cutting a living body into 
two. Everything was partitioned overnight, our communica- 
tion system, telephones, telegraphs, our postal system, our 
irrigation system, our transport system, our railways, our 
army, our civil services. Everything was divided up; and in 
spite of the fact that it was done peacefully, it produced a 
certain amount of confusion. Just at this time came the 
upheaval and with it the vast numbers of refugees — millions 
of them. Then, we had also to face this food deficit and had 
to pay large sums of money to import food from abroad. 

It was not a very easy situation for anv government to 
face, especially a new government, after its own country 
had been partitioned and all its services and everything had 
been upset. However, we have gone through this period and 
on the whole have made good. And may I say that because 
we have gone through this period and faced all these dangers 
and difficulties, as well as the previous hardships during our 
struggle for freedom, we have gained a sense of self- 
confidence? And we feel that we know very well that we 
have more difficult problems to face than we have already 
faced and overcome. And so, there is a general feeling of 
confidence in the country in regard to the economic or other 
pioblems which we may have. We shall get over them. It 
will mean hard work. But we are perfectly prepared for hard 
work. We do not try to delude our people into thinking that 
they are going to have a soft time. But what they want is not 
a soft time but a picture of the future for which they should 
work — a picture in which they can see, first of all, a progres- 
sive improvement of their lot and present burdens being more 
or less fairly shared by all groups instead of being borne by 
some groups and not by others. The latter, as you can well 
appreciate, can be a very irritating thing. 

That is the position of India. That being so, our primary 



410 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-195S 


concern in India today is to build this new India, to make it 
prosperous, to do everything which would enable the economy 
to improve, create more wealth and increase production. 
In doing that, we feel that we should pay much more atten- 
tion to what might be called the basic industries or certain 
basic things than to other rather superficial industries. 

Our first attention is paid, therefore, to certain river 
valley schemes. Some of them are very big schemes — bigger 
than the Tennessee Valley Authority; many of them are 
smaller. These river valley schemes are multipurpose 
schemes — first of all, to avoid floods; secondly, to irrigate 
large areas of land for the production of food; thirdly, for 
hydro-electric power; then, also, to prevent soil erosion and 
malaria; and, ultimately, to help the growth of industry. 

These are very ambitious schemes and rather costly. In 
our enthusiasm we wanted to go ahead with dozens and 
dozens of these schemes. We had to slow down a little when 
we found that we did not have the technical personnel or the 
financial capacity to go ahead with all of them. Nevertheless, 
we are going ahead with some of the big ones and many 
of the small ones; and we hope to go ahead with the others 
soon enough. 

Then we want to develop certain other basic industries — 
steel, for example. We have a very big steel plant. It is not 
enough. We want to have more steel plants and machine 
tool industries. Unless one has these basic things, one cannot 
industrialize a country. We want to industrialize India. We 
will not, of course, change her fundamentally agricultural 
character thereby, because, however much we may industria- 
lize her, India will still remain basically an agricultural coun- 
try whether India wants to or not. 

India suddenly has to face new contacts with Asian 
countries and new responsibilities. Of course, whether you 
think in terms of trade or commerce or defence, India comes 
into the picture — whether it is Western Asia or South-East 
Asia or the Far East. You may consider South-East Asian 
problems apart from Western Asian problems but in both 
these India comes in. So, India cannot be isolated. In the 
world today, no country — big or small — can just isolate 



THE GANDHIAN TECHNIQUE 


411 


itself. We have to face very difficult problems and those 
people who are in positions of responsibility have really a 
terrific burden to carry. The burden would, anyhow, be 
very difficult and great but the real difficulty, a moral 
difficulty, if I may say so, is this: you may, perhaps, be 
convinced in your mind of a certain course of action which 
is right or, if I may put it another way, you may be convinced 
of what is truth in a certain context. If you are convinced as 
an individual, it is your duty to follow that line regardless of 
consequences. As a political leader, you do not function as 
an individual; you function through other individuals whom 
you lead. You have to make those other individuals also 
understand the truth as you perceive it. It is not enough for 
you to perceive it. They are the material through wl ich you 
act and, therefore, the measure of their activity is governed 
not by your understanding but by their own understanding 
of what you say. 

Difficult problems, political or moral, thus arise. That 
you have to function through a medium is a limiting factor. 
You have to function through masses of men or governments 
or groups, not as an individual. You may be a very great 
leader — a prophet if you like — but you are functioning as an 
individual, no doubt influencing others, no doubt influencing 
succeeding generations tremendously but, nevertheless, 
functioning as an individual. First of all, political leaders are 
not prophets; nor are they, normally, great seekers after 
truth. Even if they choose to follow what they consider the 
right path, they are limited by the fact that they have to 
make others move and not themselves. And so, they inevitably 
have to compromise. In the context of things, they have to 
compromise, because there are so many forces at play which 
they cannot control. Either they retire from the scene or they 
compromise. Now, once you start compromising, you are 
on a slippery slope and it may land you anywhere. So, what 
is one to do? On the one hand, there is this danger of your 
losing all touch with reality or truth, if you like; on the other 
hand, unless you compromise, you do not acknowledge 
reality, you are cut off from it and function merely as an 
individual and not as a leader. 



412 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-195S 


This is a difficult problem which each one of us in his 
own small or big way has to face. I know no answer to it, 
because there can be no general answer; and each case has to 
be measured and considered separately. But I would say this: 
even when one compromises, one should never compromise 
in regard to the basic truth.’ One may limit the application of 
it, remembering always the basic way, the basic objective 
and where the aim lies. If we always remember the basic 
objective and always aim that way, it may be permissible, as 
a next step, to say something much less than that which 
people understand. But if we forget the basic objective, then 
the small step may lead us astray. 

In the present-day world, people talk of the atom bomb 
and are afraid of all the possible consequences which even the 
present generation might have to face. It is a very extra- 
ordinary situation, because one may say that science and the 
application of science have developed so much that it should 
be easily possible for the whole world to satisfy not only the 
primary needs of humanity but other needs also and to have 
full opportunities of individual or group development without 
the necessity of any conflict. I think that it can be mathema- 
tically shown that it is possible for the whole world to prosper 
if the resources of the world were turned in the direction of 
the betterment of humanity instead of so much of them being 
used for and wasted for purposes of war and the preparation 
for war. For the first time in history, mankind has the key to 
its happiness in its own hands. If this problem had arisen two 
or three hundred years ago, it would, perhaps, have been 
difficult to solve, because all mankind could not prosper 
together at that time. 

And yet, just when we can solve a problem which has 
afflicted the world through ages past, we, so to speak, with 
our own goodwill or ill will, raise this new problem which 
may be exemplified today by the atom bomb. Of course, the 
atom bomb is only a symbol of other things. It is an extra- 
ordinary thing that we live in fear of it all the time, not 
knowing when sudden disaster may descend upon us. I am 
not terribly afraid of it because I do not think that there is 
much likelihood of that disaster descending upon us in the 



THE GANDHIAN TECHNIQUE 


41S 


near future or for some years to come. I hope that if these 
years are properly utilized, it will never come, provided we 
work to that end consciously, provided we are not terribly 
afraid. The real danger of the situation is that of fear and that 
wrong steps might be taken because of fear. 

. We have got into a vicious circle. I am quite certain that 
in the world today there are very few persons who can 
conceivably think of war and that in every country a vast 
number of people, almost everyone, desires peace. And yet, 
in spite of that, there must be something wrong with our 
thinking or with our actions. Why should we be caught in 
this web? We may say, of course, that it is not our fault, that 
it is other people’s fault. And it is, doubtless, true. Neverthe- 
less, there is something wrong about our getting caught in 
that dilemma. Gandhi always told us, ‘You ha\e no business 
to blame the British for the failures in your national move- 
ment, the failures in what you are trying to do. Of course, 
the British Government would try to check you; that is their 
function. So long as they do not agree and so long as the whole 
matter is not settled, they will check you. So, what is the good 
of blaming them, because they check you and defeat you? 
It shows your failure. It is always your failure if you do not 
succeed, not the Britisher’s failure. So, it is not much good 
our blaming them for it.’ 

It is not much good our blaming others. Others, no doubt, 
are to blame. That is not the point. But we should find a way 
out and not depend upon the goodwill or the ill will of others, 
for then we become dependent on what others do in regard 
to war and peace. 

I have obviously no magical formula to offer anybody in 
regard to this dilemma, which is a very difficult one for a 
politician, for any person with responsibility cannot afford to 
take a risk about his country. He has to prepare for every 
eventuality. He has to prepare against any possible aggres- 
sion. He cannot, humanity being what it is, just take up the 
line of complete passive resistance and say, ‘We shall do 
nothing and hope that nobody else will do anything.’ He 
cannot take any risk and he has to be ready for every possible 
contingency. 



414 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-195S 

On the other hand, the very act of that preparation 
sometimes goes so far as to bring a possible conflict nearer; 
and it is obvious that a conflict, if it comes on a world-scale, 
is likely to be a disaster of unparalleled magnitude. Nobody 
knows exactly what will happen but one thing is dead 
certain: the modern world, as it functions today and modern 
civilization as it is, will hardly survive. 

If that is so — and we must realize that that is likely to 
happen — then it is not merely a question of victory and 
defeat. Of course, victory is always desirable so that we may 
do what we want to do. But the question is a much deeper 
one — that of achieving certain objectives at which you aim. 
When you fight a war, you fight it to attain certain objectives. 
Victory is not the objective but a step, the removal of an 
obstruction, so that you may attain the objective. If you forget 
that objective, then the victory you gain becomes a hollow 
victory. It is some relief, no doubt, but you have not gained 
the objective. Hence, the last two wars, which have been 
tremendous victories in the military sense, have somehow not 
relieved the tensions of the world. 

Perhaps, in this context, it is worth while thinking how 
far the Gandhian technique is applicable. I do not know how 
far it is applicable practically, because there are innumerable 
difficulties but I do think that whether or not it is practically 
applicable, in our mental and psychological life it may help 
us a great deal. 


THE AGE OF CRISIS 

F or nearly three weeks I have been a wanderer in this vast 
country and have visited many great cities and famous 
universities. Wherever I have gone, I have received a whole- 
hearted welcome and generous hospitality. I have met many 
of the leaders of this country; men and women who wield 


Address at the University of California, October 31, 1949 



THE ACE OF CRISIS 


415 


authority and shoulder responsibility in various phases of a 
great nation’s activities. I ha\e also had glimpses of many 
others who work in field or factoiy and arc the backbone of 
the nation. I wish I could have more opportunities of meeting 
ordinary people and seeing them at work and at play. But 
my time was limited and so, regretfully, ^ had to deprive 
myself of this opportunity. 

The President of the United States described my visit to 
this country in vivid language as a voyage of discovery. That 
description was true enough, as I had to learn and find out 
many things; and yet, how can any one discover this great 
country in three or tour weeks? All my life I have been 
engaged in a quest — the disco\ ery of my own country — 
India. During this life’s journey of discovery, I hate found 
much in my country that inspired me, much that interested 
me and much that made me understand a little of what India 
was and is today. And yet India, with the weight of ages 
behind her and with her urges and desires in the present, has 
only been partially discovered by me and I am continually 
finding out new facets of her many-sided personality that 
continually surprise me. 

How then can I presume to discover this great country 
during a brief visit? And yet, even a brief visit may give 
some insight into the ideals and objectives and the springs of 
action of a nation. So, I made myself receptive in order to 
understand somewhat the spirit of America and the sources 
of the inner strength that have made her great. All the world 
sees, sometimes, perhaps, with a little envy, her great pros- 
perity and the tremendous advance she has made in the 
application of science for human betterment. From that, all 
of us have much to learn; and yet, it was obvious to me that 
no great material advance could take place or could last long 
unless there were deeper foundations underlying it. The 
picture of the average American presented to the outside 
world is of a hard-headed, efficient and practical business- 
man, intent on making money and using that money to add 
to his power and influence. That picture, no doubt, has 
some truth in it. And yet there is another picture and, 1 
think, a much more enduring one, of a warmhearted and 



416 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


very generous people, full of goodwill for others and with a 
firm belief in the basic principles on which this great Republic 
was founded — the principles of freedom, equality and 
democracy. It has been my good fortune to see this latter 
picture wherever I have gone and this has made me realize 
wherein lies the real strength of America. Everywhere I have 
found a love of freedom and a desire for peace and co-opera- 
tion and, among the people, a frankness and human approach 
which make friendly understanding easy. Because of this 
approach I have also ventured to speak frankly what I had 
in my mind. 

After spending some days on the east coast of this conti- 
nental country, paying brief visits to the middle west and 
having a glimpse of the south, I have now come to the western 
coast of America and to the famous and cosmopolitan city of 
San Francisco. I could not have gone back to India without 
visiting the west coast about which I had heard so much. 

During these wanderings of mine, I have noticed the 
great variety of American life and at the same time the 
fundamental unity of it. I have been reminded again and 
again of my own country with its vast extent and its diversity 
and unity. The United States, astride between two great 
oceans, looks out to the east towards Asia. So also India has 
had many windows looking out at various parts of the great 
Asian continent. India has had close contacts with Western 
Asia, Central Asia, South-East Asia and the Far East. 
Geography has played a dominant part in the history and 
development of both the United States and India and will 
no doubt continue to influence considerably the course of 
events in the future. That influence is not so great today as 
it used to be, because of the tremendous developments of 
transport and communications which make every country 
almost a neighbour of another. The United States, by virtue 
of her origin and history, naturally looked towards Europe 
and only gradually spread towards the west because, for a 
long period, Europe was the principal centre of the world’s 
activities. 

A change of supreme importance has now come over the 
world scene and that is the renascence of Asia. Perhaps, when 



THE AGE OF CRISIS 


417 


the history of our times comes to be written, the re-entry of 
this old continent of Asia — which has seen so many ups and 
downs — into world politics will be the most outstanding fact 
of this and the next generation. All the world is concerned 
with this but more particularly the United States, because 
of her.- geographical and pivotal position, apart from the great 
power that she wields in world affairs today. 

The world is full of unsolved problems today; perhaps, all 
of them can be considered as parts of one single problem. This 
problem cannot be solved unless the full implication of the 
renascence of Asia is kept in mind, for Asia will inevitably 
play an ever growing part in world affairs. Asia, arrested in 
her growth, faces this world problem in two of its major 
aspects — political and economic. The political problem, that 
is, the achievement of political freedom, has a certain priority 
because without it no effective progress is possible. But owing 
to the delay in the achievement of political freedom, the 
economic problem has become equally important and urgent. 
National freedom is thus the first essential in Asia and, 
although most of the countries of Asia have achieved this, 
some still remain under colonial domination. These relics of 
foreign rule will have to go, giving place to national freedom, 
thus satisfying nationalism, which is the predominant urge 
of Asian peoples. The economic betterment of the vast masses 
of Asia is equally essential, both from their point of view and 
from the point of view of world peace and stability. This will 
involve a progressive industrialization of these countries and 
in this the United States can play a vital role. 

There is another danger point that is always to be borne 
in mind and that is racial discrimination and inequality. This 
is also a relic from the past, which has no place today and is 
naturally resented by those who suffer from it. 

India is an ancient country with millennia of history 
behind her but she faces the world today as a young and 
dynamic nation. For thirty years she concentrated on her 
struggle for national freedom. And that struggle, under the 
leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, was an unusual one. That 
great man, whom we call the Father of our Nation, gave 
some impress of his mighty personality to India and more 



418 


JAWAHARI.AI NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1958 


especially to our generation. And so, today, as we look out 
upon the world and fashion our foreign policy, we are 
governed by something of that idealism as well as the realistic 
approach that Gandhi gave to our struggle. If India is to 
play any effective part in world affairs or even in her own 
development, she has to function in conformity with the 
ideals that she has held for these many years. Those ideals 
are essentially of peace and co-operation, of national freedom, 
of a growing internationalism leading to a world order, of 
equality among nations and people and of the eradication of 
want and misery from the millions who suffer from it. 

Mahatma Gandhi taught us to view our national struggle 
always in terms of the under-privileged and those to whom 
opportunity had been denied. Therefore, there was always an 
economic facet to our political struggle for freedom. We 
realized that there was no real freedom for those who suffered 
continually from want, and because there were millions who 
lacked the barest necessities of existence in India, we thought 
of freedom in terms of raising and bettering the lot of these 
people. Having achieved political freedom, it is our passionate 
desire to serve our people in this way and to remove the many 
burdens they have carried for generations past. Gandhi said 
on one occasion that it was his supreme ambition to wipe every 
tear from every eye. That was an ambition beyond even his 
power to realize, for many millions of eyes have shed tears in 
India, in Asia and in the rest of the world; and perhaps it 
may never be possible completely to stop this unending flow of 
human sorrow. But it is certainh possible for us to lessen hu- 
man want and misery and suffering; and what are politics and 
all our arguments worth if they do not have this aim in view. 

We live in an age of paradox and continuing crisis. We 
talk of peace and prepare for war. We discuss inter- 
nationalism and One World and yet narrow nationalisms 
govern our activities. There is said to be a conflict of ideologies 
and this argument and the conflict that flows from it usually 
take place without much thought of the ideals and objectives 
that should govern us. We move from one temporary 
expedient to another, never catching up with the pace of 
events. Priding ourselves on shaping history, we function 



THE AGE OF CRISIS 


419 


from day to day as slaves of the events that inexorably unroll 
themselves before our eyes and fear possesses us and hatred 
follows in its train. 

None of us, especially those who have to shoulder the 
burden of responsibility, can ignore the realities and dangers 
of .the.- moment. We cannot live in an idealistic world of our 
own creation. What we consider the immediate reality might 
only be a passing phase and it may be that we have to look a 
little deeper in order to understand and control events. The 
world has made astonishing progress in technology and 
material advancement. That is all to the good and we must 
take full advantage of it. But the long course of history of 
human development shows us that there arc certain basic 
truths and realities that do not change with the (hanging 
times and unless we hold fast to them we are likely to go 
astray. The present generation has often gone astray in spite 
of all the wonderful accumulation of knowledge that we 
possess and danger always looms ahead. 

What, then, is lacking and how can we solve these crises 
in human affairs? I am no prophet nor have I any magical 
remedy to suggest. 1 have tried to grope my way, to think 
straight and to co-ordinate, as far as possible, action to 
thought. I have often found it difficult to do so, for action on 
the political plane is not individual action but group and 
mass action. Nevertheless, I am convinced that any policy, 
any ideology, which ignores truth and character in human 
beings and which preaches hatred and violence, can only 
lead to evil results. However good our motives may be and 
however noble the objective we aim at, if the path we follow 
and the means we adopt are wrong and evil, we can never 
achieve that objective. If we seek peace we must labour for 
peace and not for war. If we seek harmony and goodwill 
among the various peoples of the world, we must not preach 
or practise hatred. It is true that there is plenty of violence 
and hatred in the world today and we cannot permit this to 
triumph, as we cannot submit to any aggression. We have to 
combat evil and aggression; in doing so, we have to remember 
not only our aims and objectives but also that the means we 
adopt should be in conformity with them. 



420 JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1955 

The growth of modern civilization with its magnificent 
achievements has led more and more to the centralization of 
authority and power and encroachments continue to be 
made on the freedom of the individual. Perhaps, to some 
extent, this is inevitable, as the modern world cannot function 
without considerable centralization. We have seen, however, 
this process of centralized authority being carried to such an 
extreme that individual freedom almost vanishes. The State 
becomes supreme in everything or groups of individuals have 
so much concentrated power at their disposal that individual 
freedom tends to fade away. Different and sometimes hostile 
ideologies, from their respective points of view, encourage 
this concentration of power in the State or the group. This 
must ultimately result not only in human unhappiness but 
also in a lessening of that creative genius which is so essential 
for the growth of humanity. We have to find some balance 
between the centralized authority of the State and the 
assurance of freedom and opportunity to each individual. 

This and like problems will have to be solved in the 
minds of men before we can mould the shape of things to our 
liking. What more appropriate place can there be for the 
consideration of these problems than a university where the 
rising generation is being trained to take part in the business 
of life and to shoulder its burdens? 

As I stand here in the beautiful campus of this university, 
surrounded by the peace and beauty of nature and the 
genius of man, the conflicts and troubles of the world seem 
far away. The past crowds in upon me, the past of Asia, of 
Europe and of America and standing on this razor’s edge of 
the present, I try to peep into the future. I see in this past the 
long struggle of Man against adverse surroundings and in the 
face of innumerable difficulties. I see his repeated martyrdom 
and crucifixion but I see also the spirit of man rising again 
and again and triumphing over every adversity. Let us look 
at this perspective of history, gain wisdom and courage from 
it and not be oppressed too much by the burden of the past 
and of the present. We are the heirs of all these ages that have 
gone before us and it has been given to us to play our part 
during a period of great transition in this world. That is a 



BASIC WISDOM 


421 


privilege and a responsibility and we should accept it without 
fear or apprehension. History tells us of Man’s struggle for 
freedom and in spite of many failures his achievements and 
successes have been remarkable. True freedom is not merely 
political but must also be economic and spiritual. Only then 
can Man grow and fulfil his destiny. That freedom has also 
to be envisaged today not merely in terms of group freedom 
often resulting in nations warring against one another but as 
individual freedom within free national groups in the larger 
context of world freedom and order. The problems of Asia, 
of Europe and of America can no longer be dealt with 
separately; they are parts of a single world problem. 

The future appears to be full of conflict and difficulty 
but I have little doubt that the spirit of Man, which has 
survived so much, will triumph again. 


BASIC WISDOM 

M r Chancellor, Mr Vice-Chancellor and fellow members 
of the University of Ceylon, I am very grateful to you for 
the honour you have done me. I do not quite know why I have 
been singled out from amongst my distinguished colleagues 
and called upon to speak on this occasion. Nevertheless, 
I wish, if I may, to express my gratitude to you and through 
you to others in this pleasant island for their great welcome 
and for all that they have done for us during our stay here. 

This is rather a unique occasion. The mere fact of people 
from different parts of the Commonwealth and from distant 
quarters of the world coming together to confer on questions 
of vital consequence is a matter of significance and a presage 
of the type of conferences that we may have in the future 
when more and more people will confer together about the 
problems of the day, in all earnestness and without regard to 
those barriers which have separated us in the past. 


Convocation Addrcns at the Unit era tv of Ce\!on, Colombo, January 12, 1950 
28—11 DFD/63 



422 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1919-1953 


In the citation about me, I was, I believe, referred to as a 
person who had profound wisdom and political astuteness. I 
do not know how far I am politically astute but I must confess 
to you that the older I grow the more I feel the lack of wisdom 
in myself. Perhaps, it may be that that very feeling is a sign of 
having some wisdom. 

In the world today, one sees so many things which please 
one and so many other things which appear to one to be so 
extraordinarily wrong. One wonders why this world of ours, 
having every opportunity of co-operating for the progress 
of humanity, loses itself always in conflict, in violence and 
in hatred. We see the clash of blind armies, as it were. We 
see the reproduction in the modern age of something which 
we thought had been done away with in the past ages. In the 
past ages, we had in many parts of the world — fortunately 
not so much in your country or mine — tremendous conflicts 
on some kind of religious dogma and people fought one 
another on the interpretation of some dogma. We see, today, 
people becoming dogmatic in fields other than that of religion 
and conflicts arising from that dogmatic approach to human 
affairs. 

I should have thought that in the modern world there 
were many approaches we could have to life’s problems but 
certainly not the narrow-minded, dogmatic approach. We 
may have a scientist’s aproach, a humanist’s approach and 
possibly other approaches, too; but the dogmatic approach 
inevitably narrows the mind and prevents us from seeing 
much that we ought to see. 

In the realm of human affairs as also in international 
affairs, we find this dogmatic approach bringing in its train 
conflict, want of understanding, hatred and violence. I do not 
know how we are to get over this; but unless we get over this 
narrow-minded approach, I have no doubt that we shall fail 
to solve the problems of the day. 

One of the brighter features of this age is — and I attach a 
great deal of value to it — that the barriers that separated the 
so-called East from the so-called West are gradually dis- 
appearing. That is a good sign. But, at the same time, other 
barriers seem to be growing in the East and in the West. We 



BASIC WISDOM 


423 


meet repeatedly in conferences and talk about the problems 
that face us. Sometimes we solve a problem or two but for 
each problem that we solve, half a dozen fresh ones crop up. 

I remember that somebody made a calculation of 
the number of international conferences that were held 
after the conclusion of the First World War and before the 
commencement of the Second World War. It was a prodi- 
gious number. I do not quite know if we have exceeded 
that number since the Second World War ended. 

This is an age of international conferences. A conference 
is always a good thing or almost always, because people, at 
any rate, meet round a table and discuss matters with good 
humour and, even if they do not always succeed in finding a 
solution, the effort is, nevertheless, always worthy of being 
made. That in itself results in something that is good. But I 
have often wondered why there has been this failure in the 
past to find solutions to our problems. Is it due to a lack of 
wit in statesmen or to a lack of understanding? I do not 
think it is either, because they have been able and earnest 
statesmen desiring peace and co-operation. Even so, some- 
how or other, solutions have escaped them. Why, then, is 
it so? I do not know; perhaps, we work too much on the 
superficial plane, finding solutions to the troubles of the 
moment and not looking to the deeper causes. 

I put this to you for your consideration, because some- 
thing does come in the way. With all the earnestness we may 
possess, sometimes we do not get over those old and new 
barriers that come in the way of mutual understanding. 
Then, I think that, in spite of our vaunted civilization, in 
spite of the advance of science and technology, we have lost 
our grip on some of the basic things of life, something that 
gives anchorage to life and some standard with which we 
could measure value. 

We have advanced greatly in science — I am a great 
believer in science — and the scientific approach has changed 
the world completely. I think that if the world is to solve its 
problems, it will inevitably have to be through the means of 
science and not by discarding science. Nevertheless, I find 
that the sheer advance of science has often enough made 



424 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


people unscientific. That is an extraordinary thing to say but 
what I mean is that science has become so vast and all- 
pervading that scientists are unable to grasp things in their 
entirety and have become narrower and narrower in each 
individual subject. They may be very brilliant in some subject 
but they seem to have no grip on life as a whole. 

In the ancient civilizations of India and Greece that one 
reads about, one has or, at any rate, I have the sensation 
that people, though much more limited in the knowledge at 
their disposal, certainly had an integrated view of life. They 
were not so distracted; they could see life as a whole in spite 
of the fact that they did not know as much or nearly as much 
as the average undergraduate knows today. Because of this 
integrated view of life, they had a certain wisdom in their 
approach to life’s problems. 

Whether that is true or not I do not know, because one is 
apt to endow the past with a certain glamour. It may be that 
I am wrong but in any event one thing seems to me to be 
certain, namely, that we of today have no integrated view of 
life; that we, however clever we may be and however much of 
facts and knowledge we may have accumulated, are not 
very wise. We are narrower than the people of old, although 
every fact has gone to bring us together in this world. We 
travel swiftly, we have communications, we know more about 
one another and we have the radio and all kinds of things. In 
spite of all these widening influences, we are narrower in our 
minds. That is the extraordinary thing which I cannot 
understand. 

I put this to this gathering of university men, because 
after all it is for the universities to tackle this problem more 
than for any other organization. If the universities do not 
teach some kind of basic wisdom, if they think in terms of 
producing people with degrees who want certain jobs, then 
the universities may have, perhaps, solved to a very minor 
extent the problem of unemployment or provided some 
technical help or other; but they will not have produced men 
who can understand or solve the problems of today. 

You and I live in Asia. Perhaps, one of the biggest facts 
of today is this new and changing phase of Asia. What is 



BASIC WISDOM 


425 


happening in Asia is a fact of tremendous historical 
significance. It is difficult to grasp it entirely or to under- 
stand it but I think any person must see that something very 
big has happened and is happening all over Asia. There is a 
certain dynamism about it. We do not like much of what is 
happening and we may like something of what is happening 
but the fact remains that tremendous and powerful elemental 
forces are at play in Asia. For us just to sit in our ivory towers 
and look at them, with dislike or approval, is not good enough. 
If we wish to play any effective part in this world of ours we 
have to understand them. For some three or four hundred 
years, a good part of Asia was under a kind of eclipse and 
there was a basic urge for political freedom for a long time. 

If you read the history of Asia — it is a long, long history 
— you will find that during the greater part of these thousands 
of years, Asia has played an important part in world affairs. 
It is only during the last three or four hundred years that 
Asia has become static, quiescent and rather stagnant in 
thought and in action in spite of all the virtues she might 
have possessed. Naturally and rightly, she fell under the 
domination of other more progressive, vigorous and dynamic 
countries. That is the way of the world and that is the right 
way. If you are static, you must suffer for it. And now, you 
see a change coming over Asia, and because it is belated the 
change comes with a rush, upsetting many things and doing 
many things that one does not like. That this big change is 
coming over us, however, is a major fact. I do not know — I 
do not suppose any of you know — what ultimately this change 
will lead to in Asia. 

You and I live in this changing Asia of today. Many of 
you will have the burden of facing these problems which are 
not of today or tomorrow but which may last for a generation 
or more than one generation. The burden is yours because 
many of us whom you honour are in the afternoon of our 
lives and have, perhaps, only a few more years to work and 
labour, which, I am sure, we will do to the best of our capacity 
and strength. And so, it is for you, young graduates of today, 
to prepare yourselves in mind and body and, as much as you 
can, in that deeper wisdom to understand these problems and 



426 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


to (unction actively and help in the solution of them. In the 
world of today, it is not enough for you to take up a distant 
and academic altitude and look on and just advise others or 
criticize others. Today, every man has to shoulder his burden. 
If he does not, well, he falls out; he simply does not count. 

I have found many of our young men and women — I am 
talking more of India than of Ceylon because I do not know 
much about Ceylon — full of enthusiasm, full of energy, full 
of earnestness but, if you will permit me to say so, singularly 
academic or, if you like, singularly cut off from life’s realities. 
During their student days, they often debated and passed 
resolutions on this subject or that but afterwards, when they 
went out into the world, they seemed to think that life itself 
was a continuous debating society where they could pass 
votes of censure or criticize others without doing much 
themselves. 

Now, that is not a very helpful attitude. Perhaps, it is due 
to the fact that for the past so many years, most of us did not 
have much chance of doing anything constructive. Our main 
job was to fight for the freedom of our country in a destruc- 
tive way, in an oppositionist way and not in a creative way. 
The result is that we cannot get rid of this negative and 
destructive outlook. Instead of helping to build something, 
we just sit down and criticize others who may be, rightly or 
wrongly, trying to build. At least, they are trying to build. 
I think that mere criticism is a very unhelpful and bad atti- 
tude to adopt. In whatever country you may be, what is 
required today is a constructive and creative approach. 
Certainly there is always something to destroy, something 
that is bad; but mere destruction is not enough. You must 
also build. 

One thing more. I take it that a university is essentially a 
place of culture, whatever ‘culture’ might mean. But that 
takes me back to where I began. There is a great deal of 
culture all over the place and I, normally, find that those 
people who talk most loudly of culture, according to my 
judgment, possess no culture at all. Culture, first of all, is not 
loud; it is quiet, it is restrained, it is tolerant. You may judge 
the culture of a person by his silence, by a gesture, by a 



BASIC WISDOM 


427 


phrase or, more especially, by his life generally. The peculiar, 
narrow idea of culture that is spreading is that culture 
depends on the kind of headgear you wear or the kind of food 
you eat or on similar superficial things which, I do not deny, 
have a certain importance but which are very secondary in 
the larger context of life. 

. Each country has certain special cultural characteristics 
which have been developed through the ages. Similarly, 
each age has a culture and a certain way of its own. The 
cultural characteristics of a country are important and are 
certainly retained, unless, of course, they do not fit in with 
the spirit of the age. So, by all means, adhere to the special 
culture of your nation. But there is something that is deeper 
than national culture and that is human culture. If you do 
not have that human culture, that basic culture, then even 
that national culture of which you may be so proud has no 
real roots and will not do you much good. Today more 
especially, it has become essential for us to develop, in 
addition to such national culture as we may have, some- 
thing that can only be called a world culture. There is much 
talk of One World and I believe that, at some time or other, 
that talk must bear fruit or else this world will go to pieces. 
It may be that we will not see that One World in our genera- 
tion but if you want to prepare for that One World you must 
at least think about it. You have at least a culture to sustain 
you; and there is no reason why you should live your lives 
in narrow grooves, trying to think yourselves superior to the 
rest of the world. 

We live surrounded by all kinds of dark fears in this new 
year. Probably, the prevailing feeling in the world of today is 
fear. Almost everybody is afraid of something; every country 
is afraid of some other country and, of course, fear is a thing 
which leads to all kinds of undesirable consequences. Fear is 
probably the most evil of sensations and we are living under 
the dominance of fear. If we could get rid of this fear to some 
extent, perhaps, it would be far easier for us to solve our 
problems. 

Besides fear, we see in the world a great deal of hope and 
earnestness and a great deal of expectation of better things 



428 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-195S 


at the same time. We see creative and constructive as well as 
destructive and negative impulses at work. I do not know 
which will triumph in the near or the distant future, but 
obviously it will be impossible for me and impossible for you 
to function adequately if we do not believe in the ultimate 
triumph of the creative and unifying processes of the day. 

However that may be, even the attempt to work for some 
great cause not only helps that cause but also helps us. We 
are not prophets and wc do not know what the morrow may 
bring but it is rather satisfying to work for die morrow of 
your choice. It brings something into your life which makes it 
worth while. If you align yourself to some great purpose or 
to something elemental, it ennobles you. Whether the reward 
comes or not, the mere fact of working for it is a reward 
enough. 

With all the evil that we see around us and with all its 
degradation, we have to live in this world. There is, neverthe- 
less, plenty of good in the world and we have to see that 
there is plenty of whaL I as a Hindu would call the element of 
divinity in the individual as well as in the group. If we can 
have our feet firmly planted on the soil and do not lose our- 
selves in imaginary vagaries and at the same time have some 
of that divine fire in us, too, then, perhaps, we might be able 
to balance ourselves and develop some kind of an integrated 
life. Somebody has said — and I would like you to feel that 
way: 

Lord, though I live on earth, the child of earth, 
yet I was fathered by the starry sky. 

I have come to Ceylon after ten years. I have been here on 
two or three previous occasions also. Whenever I come here, 
I do not feel that I have come to a strange country — I feel 
very much at home. Your welcome and the friendly faces 
that I see everywhere make me feel at home. Quite apart 
from that, you of Ceylon and we of India are intimately 
related in our cultural inheritances as you all know very well 
and it does not make much difference what shape politics 
takes. You are an independent country, as you should be, so 
are we an independent country, as we should be. Political 
barriers should not be allowed to come into play when 



DYNAMIC LIFE 


429 


culturally our people look to each other. When I come here, 
I think even more than I normally do — and normally I 
think a great deal — of that greatest and wisest and brightest 
son of India, whom you honour greatly and whom all of 
us in India and many other countries also greatly honour. 
' The bond of the Buddha and all that it stands for is a bond 
between India and Ceylon which nothing can break. 
Whenever one thinks of the Buddha, one inevitably thinks of 
his great teaching; and I often feel that, perhaps, if we think 
more of that basic teaching of the avoidance of hatred and 
violence, we may be nearer the solution of our problems. 


DYNAMIC LIFE 

I am grateful for the honour you have done me in awarding 
me this degree. A number of otheruniversities inlndia have 
also honoured me in this way; but that has not lessened in 
any way the value of this particular honour. In my capacity 
as Prime Minister, honours in various forms have been 
showered upon me. The affection that has been lavished 
upon me by the people of this country is, indeed, the greatest 
honour that can come to anybody. It is overwhelming and 
makes me feel very humble. No response can, therefore, be 
adequate enough. All one can do is to utilize all one’s strength 
and energy in furthering the tasks of the country. I think 
Bernard Shaw once said that the true joy in life is to align 
oneself with some mighty purpose and not get entangled in 
petty troubles of which life is so full; to work for the purpose 
with all the strength and energy that one may have till one is 
worn out and can be thrown on the scrap heap. Well, I do 
not know whether it is possible to disentangle oneself com- 
pletely from the petty troubles of which there is such a great 
deal. Normally, it would seem to be difficult to live a wholly 
impersonal life and dedicate it to one mighty purpose; but 


Address at the University of Saugor, October 30, 1952 



430 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


sometimes, moments arrive in the history of a country when 
this can be done — and done not merely by individuals but 
by large groups. A moment came in the life of this country 
when a large number of our countrymen aligned themselves 
to a mighty purpose at the bidding of a very great man — 
Mahatma Gandhi. These men forgot their personal 
grievances and ambitions in an overwhelming desire to serve 
a great purpose and thereby grew in stature themselves. If 
you try to do great things, the shadow of their greatness 
partly falls upon you also. If you always dwell on the petty 
things of life, you inevitably remain petty. And so, in India’s 
fight for freedom, many people of small stature had the 
high privilege of serving under one of the greatest of men 
and of being associated with their country’s historic struggle. 

That, however, is past history. We have to accept the 
present and think of the future. How shall we shape the 
present? How are you, young men and women of this 
University, going to conduct yourselves? I do not know 
what you have in your minds or what desires and urges 
influence you. 1 try to study the millions of faces I see 
wherever I go and I have seen a good proportion of India’s 
vast population. Although I see them in crowds and in 
groups, I look into their eyes and try to read what lies behind 
those eyes. I do this, especially when I meet young men and 
women, because I am deeply concerned with the future of 
India which they represent to me. The future of this country 
ultimately depends on her young men and women, most of 
whom are in colleges and universities today. I am very 
anxious to find out what stuff they are made of. They are 
large in number; but wliat really counts, if our country is to 
progress, is the quality of our human material. The future of 
India does not depend on her numbers or even on her past, 
except in so far as the future grows out of the present and the 
present grows out of the past. It is possible for a country to 
make progress to some extent even with people of mediocre 
quality. India has a large number of them. Obviously, that 
is not enough. If a great country like India is to be greater, 
it is essential for her to have men and women who must be 
more than mediocre. I have no doubt that you try to play a 



DYNAMIC LIFE 


431 


good game when you go in for sports. You perhaps run a 
hundred yards in ten seconds; but if you want to be an athlete 
of real quality you have to surpass and outdistance others. 
It makes a lot of difference whether you do a hundred yards 
in ten seconds or in eleven seconds. The difference is only 
.one Second but it is very important. That applies to every- 
thing. Is the University of Saugor going to produce men and 
women of real quality? We produced men and women of 
quality in the past. Subsequently, however, that quality 
seemed to have worn off and we became a nation that more 
or less lived on its inheritance. Of course, nothing is more 
advantageous and more creditable than a rich heritage; but 
nothing is more dangerous for a nation than to sit back and 
live on that heritage. A nation cannot progress if it merely 
imitates its ancestors; what builds a nation is creative, 
inventive and vital activity. I seek the creative mind. How 
do creative minds come to be? In many ways, I suppose. 
I know that the University of Saugor cannot produce 
creativeness; but what it can do is to provide an environ- 
ment in which creativeness and vitality of mind and body 
have a place and can prosper. 

India seems to me an odd mixture of traits and 
characteristics. Some fill me with joy and faith and others 
with alarm. I cannot predict which will prosper and which 
will ultimately win. That, the future will tell. All I can say is 
that I have a great deal of faith in my country and in my 
people. At the same time, what is wrong with our country is 
also quite obvious. We are narrow in mind and vision; we 
not only lack creativeness of mind but the atmosphere in 
which it can flourish. I am astonished at the way the word 
‘culture* is bandied about in India. To me this only means 
that there is no culture where this is done. Culture is not 
something that can be bandied about. It does not talk too 
much and does not shout too much. The other day, I read 
one of Rabindra Nath Tagore’s poems or rather a transla- 
tion of it, which spoke of the wonderful variety of India where 
innumerable streams have flowed, producing the culture we 
now possess. The capacity to absorb these various streams of 
culture is a part of the creativeness of India. Therefore, there 



432 


JAWAHARLAL NEHRU'S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


is no reason why we should adopt the narrow outlook of 
pride and folly which makes us think that we have every- 
thing and that we need receive nothing from outside. South- 
East Asia and the Far East have borrowed freely from 
India’s cultural inheritance. Similarly, we find evidence of 
other cultures in India. Of course, the basis of Indian culture 
remains unchanged even though it has absorbed other 
cultures. Such was the country of our distant ancestors. 
Gradually, a change came. We became afraid of others and 
shrank into ourselves. We did not want either to go out 
ourselves or to let others come in. We developed narrow 
grooves of thought and narrow divisions amongst ourselves, 
each division isolating itself from other castes or groups. 
We practically imposed a ban on travel abroad. People 
were afraid they would lose their caste or religion if they 
went out of India. We came to attach more importance to 
what we ate, drank or touched than to other far more 
important aspects of life. The transformation you see now 
was not sudden — this shrinking into ourselves, this closing of 
our eyes to all that was going on around us and thinking that 
what we possessed was everything and that there was nothing 
more to learn. When an individual or a community starts to 
think like that, individual or community is doomed 
because life is an ever growing, dynamic process. No kind of 
vitality can be static. The moment growth stops, decay sets 
in and the ultimate result is death. Thus did we in India 
become static in our life and culture. This process of decay 
through the centuries can be traced in our literature. We 
start with magnificent literature. Then we come to classical 
Sanskrit, which is also very beautiful. However, it gradually 
deteriorates and we reach a stage when Sanskrit comes to 
be written in long involved sentences, sometimes even 
running to two pages. There is no strength or vitality left 
in it. Interpretations and explanations bear testimony to 
the decay of the language. Instead of being inspired by great 
ideas, we have even lost what we had. Our old architecture 
was magnificent and was, perhaps, among the greatest 
architectures of the world. See, how it became degraded! 
It still retained its craftsmanship but the nobility of design 



DYNAMIC LIFE 


4SS 


that had come from simplicity was gone. It became heavier 
and heavier. There was no dignity in it, only hard work. 
When a country is dynamic, it reveals itself in a myriad 
activities. We hope to be dynamic again. Perhaps, it was 
necessary for us to learn a lesson before we became dynamic 
once more. 

What inspiration can we draw from something which is 
static and half dead? That is the question. I am amazed that 
people should function in such a narrow way that they 
should shut their minds and demand that others shut their 
minds too, against everything new and talk only of Indian 
culture. I know something about culture. Those who preach 
that doors should be shut do not know anything of culture. 
Every process of exclusion means lack of culture: every process 
of inclusion indicates growth. Those elements that believe 
in pushing things away narrow the mind and the nation falls 
back to a period of static culture. We have to be dynamic or 
else we cannot survive. 

Do you realize what tremendous changes have come over 
the world in the last few generations? I want you to think 
about it. Take India, for instance. A man of Asoka’s or 
Akbar’s time, looking at India as it was about 150 years ago, 
would have found changes, of course; but he would not have 
found any basic change. The pattern of human life was 
much the same. The horse still remained the chief means of 
transport and communication. It was so for thousands of 
years. Suddenly — and chiefly due to the application of 
science — a great change came. It is amazing how the develop- 
ment in communications alone has upset the world. Even 
that is not enough to make one realize how far science has 
gone! You may have been static five hundred years ago but 
nobody can be static today. Everything is changing. The 
pace and tempo of the change is terrific. Incidentally, one of 
the good things we have done in the past five years is that, 
in order to get in touch with the rapid scientific changes, 
we have set up a number of national laboratories. To remain 
static is bad, because for a country to remain so means 
stagnation and stagnation is something which leads to extinc- 
tion. Besides, it is not even possible today. It might have 



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been possible years ago when change was slow and when 
the rest of the world did not impinge upon you. 

To be dynamic and creative is the practical policy or the 
higher view of culture. It is fatal to sink into narrowness of 
mind in spite of the fact that India has had a tremendously 
rich inheritance. How many of you have that dynamic 
approach and how many of you are thinking in terms of 
getting jobs here and there under the Government? Whether 
you go into Government service or take up any other occu- 
pation, what is you ideal? Just to earn a few hundred 
rupees? Or is it to achieve something creative and good? 
Are you just dragging on an unworthy existence for a number 
of years and doing nothing else? That is a big question 
facing India. Whatever our virtues and failings — and a long 
list can be prepared of both — I believe in facing life in an 
adventurous way, in meeting life more than half way with- 
out making a noise and without shouting. Whether Nature 
adapts itself to you or you to Nature ultimately depends 
on whether your approach to life and to its problems is going 
to be an adventurous and active one or a static one. What is 
your ambition? What I seek in the eyes of the innumerable 
men and women when I go round the country is great and 
high ambition to do great things. Sometimes, I see some 
eyes which rather thrill me; there is something of quality in 
them. The more I see such eyes or faces, the more I am 
assured of the future, which depends on the men and women 
who have the spirit of adventure and who do not flinch from 
difficulty. I hope the University of Saugor will produce such 
men and women. 



TO CHILDREN 


THIS BEAUTIFUL WORLD OF OURS 
Dear Children: 

Shankar asked me to write something for the Children’s 
Number of his Weekly. In a weak moment, thinking more of 
the children than of the Weekly, I promised to write. But I 
soon realized that I had made a rash promise. What was I to 
write about? 

I like being with children and talking to them and, even 
more, playing with them. For a moment I foiget that I am 
terribly old and that it is a very long time ago since I was a 
child. But when I sit down to write to you, I cannot forget 
my age and the distance that separates you from me. Old 
people have a habit of delivering sermons and good advice 
to the young. I remember that I disliked this very much 
long long ago when I was a boy. So, I suppose you do not 
like it very much either. Grown-ups have also a habit of 
appearing to be very wise, even though very few of them 
possess much wisdom. I have not quite made up my mind 
yet whether I am wise or not. Sometimes, listening to others, 
I feel I must be very wise and brilliant and important. Then, 
looking at myself, I begin to doubt this. In any event, people 
who are wise do not talk about their wisdom and do not 
behave as if they were very superior persons. 

So, I must not give you a string of good advice as to 
what you should do and what you should not do. I suppose 
you have enough of this from your teachers and others. Nor 
must I presume to be a superior person. 

What then shall I write about? If you were with me, I 
would love to talk to you about this beautiful world of ours, 
about flowers and trees and birds and animals and stars and 
mountains and glaciers and all the other wonderful things 

For the Children's Number of Shankar’s Weekly, New Delhi. December S, 
1949 



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JAWAHARLAL NEHRU’S SPEECHES 1949-1953 


that surround us in this world. We have all this beauty 
around us and yet we, who are grown-ups, often forget about 
it and lose ourselves in our offices and imagine that we are 
doing very important work. 

I hope you will be more sensible and open your eyes and 
ears to this beauty and life that surround you. Can you 
recognize the flowers by their names and the birds by their 
singing? How easy it is to make friends with them and with 
everything in nature, if you go to them affectionately and with 
friendship. You must have read many fairy tales and stories 
of long ago. But the world itself is the greatest fairy tale and 
story of adventure that has ever been written. Only, we must 
have eyes to see and ears to hear and a mind that opens out 
to the life and beauty of the world. 

Grown-ups have a strange way of putting themselves in 
compartments and groups. They build up barriers and then 
they think that those outside their particular barrier are 
strangers whom they must dislike. There are barriers of 
region, of caste, of colour, of party, of nation, of province, 
of language, of custom and of wealth and poverty. Thus, 
they live in prisons of their own making. Fortunately, children 
do not know much about these barriers which separate. 
They play or work with one another and it is only when they 
grow up that they begin to learn about these barriers from 
their elders. I hope you will take a long time in growing up. 

I have recently been to the United States of America, to 
Canada and to England. It was a long journey, right on the 
other side of the world. I found the children there very like 
the children here and so I easily made friends with them and, 
whenever I had the chance, 1 played with them a little. 
That was much more interesting than many of my talks with 
the grown-ups. For children everywhere are much the 
same; it is the grown-ups who imagine they are very different 
and deliberately make themselves so. 

Some months ago, the children of Japan wrote to me and 
asked me to send them an elephant. I sent them a beautiful 
elephant on behalf of the children of India. This elephant 
came from Mysore and travelled all the way by sea to Japan. 
When it reached Tokyo, thousands and thousands of children 



THIS BEAUTIFUL WORLD